For better protection against cyber threats, you can’t ignore patch management. It’s an essential component of all business-oriented cybersecurity strategies. Whether you operate a small, medium or large business, you’ll need to update its software. Running outdated software is a security vulnerability that can place your business at risk for cyber threats. With patch management, however, you can keep your business’s software updated while promoting a higher level of cybersecurity.

What Is Patch Management?

Patch management refers to updating software. More specifically, it’s a strategic approach that dictates the way in which a business updates its software. Businesses often create a patch management plan. They will refer to the guidelines set forth in this plan when updating their software.

You can use a patch management plan to keep your business’s software updated. New versions of software are regularly released. Updating is the process of downloading and installing the latest version of a given software product.

Some of the different types of software with which patch management is used includes the following:

  • Operating systems (OSs)
  • Firmware
  • Computer programs
  • Apps
  • Hardware drivers

The Dangers of Running Outdated Software

The purpose of patch management is to ensure that all software used by businesses is up to date. Running outdated software — even for just a short period — can make your business a target for cyber attacks. Cyber attacks typically involve the exploitation of an information technology (IT) vulnerability. Outdated software is one of the most common types of IT vulnerabilities.

Outdated software often contains weaknesses within its code. Attackers can leverage these weaknesses to access your business’s network, steal your business’s data, carry out distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and more. A simple solution, though, is patch management.

Patch management will allow you to perform timely software updates. When a new version of a software product is available, you can install it. Patch management can include manual and/or automated software updates. Manual software updates are those that you manually download and install. Automated software updates, conversely, are those that are downloaded and installed automatically. Regardless, the primary purpose of patch management is to ensure that all software used by your business is up to date.

In Conclusion

It only takes a single outdated piece of software to make your business a target for cyber attacks. If the software is outdated, it may contain a weakness that paves the way for a cyber attack. Rather than taking this risk with your business, you should develop a patch management plan.