The Case for Automated Patch Management for SMBs
Almost 6 million data records are stolen every day in a data breach. In 2018, one-third of breach incidents were accidental; however, more than half are the result of the work of external attackers.
Many of these breaches occur due to unpatched PCs, servers, and applications that allow bad actors to gain access. Though breaches are a serious issue for large enterprise organizations, especially from a reputation perspective, the threat of compromise is a top concern for most small and midsized businesses (SMBs), too.
According to a recent industry survey, improving security posture is the top IT priority for 57 percent of SMBs, up from 54 percent in 2018 and 40 percent in 2017.
Not surprisingly, nearly one-third of SMBs responding to the survey experienced a security breach in the past five years, down slightly from 35 percent in 2018, with at least 10 percent of respondents reporting that they were hit by a breach in the past year.
If security breaches are often the result of failure to patch in a timely manner, what is a busy small business owner to do? With most SMBs relying on limited IT resources, including outsourced managed service providers (MSPs), automating the patch management process has emerged as a significant area for opportunity for such organizations.
An automated patch management solution can detect, report and install any missing security patch. Rather than installing patches manually, businesses and IT professionals can delegate the task to sophisticated software that can seamlessly handle the distribution process.
Let’s have a look at some reasons why automated patch management makes sense for SMBs.
Reduce Business Disruption
Informing employees that critical patches are to be installed usually means an interruption in the business or a distraction to everyday work. Some businesses are more interested in the ability of employees to complete their work and of customers to contact them than in security. As such, patches are not installed and the risk of a breach increases.
With automation, SMBs and the IT professionals who support them can automatically decide which patches need to be deployed on which systems and initiate a complete patch management process. Patching multiple vulnerabilities at once speeds up the process, reduces frustration and ensures the continued performance of applications.
Patch management is often a challenging, complex process, as hundreds of patches are released each month. IT professionals must keep track of these patches, in addition to different versions of software, dependencies and post-patching activities such as testing and verification to ensure that the patch did not break anything.
Automated patch management removes complexity for both the business and any outsourced IT resources. By using an automated patch management solution, a business can stay on top of all patch releases and the entire patching process end-to-end, including full reporting.
Automating the delivery of operating systems and application updates offers companies the ability to comply with any regulatory or internal requirements for the securing of IT systems against possible malware or unauthorized intrusions. Automated patch management can help companies of all sizes stay compliant with data privacy laws like HIPAA and GDPR.
Patch management software can also provide automated compliance reports that document which computers are—and are not—up to date, as well as sending notifications to admins based on successful or unsuccessful patch activities.
For SMBs just getting started with automation, prevention efforts like automated patch management can make an immediate impact. Automation serves patch management well, delivering significant time savings and an improved security posture. SMBs can reduce risk and focus on their business without interruption.