Software without the most recent patch is like an unlocked door for threat actors. They know the openings are there and can just walk in. But patching and a software update schedule can make sure that door stays locked. 

Basics

The increase of remote workers has also thrown a new wrinkle into software patching. The use of personal devices used by those working from home has, too. Keeping an eye on tech refreshes is a serious dilemma for security and IT teams. 

The solution is a software update schedule that spells out who is in charge of updates and patches, when and how these updates happen, and penalties to employees who refuse to follow the schedule. 

Why Schedule required

Most people don’t understand the need for regular updates and fixes. They may be familiar with Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday, but think that manages all the software on their computer. Cyber attacks aren’t top of mind for most employees. Naturally, they are most concerned with their own work duties and how to complete them most efficiently.

IT can learn to better understand the rhythms of the people using the network and software. This helps them understand how to break down patches and make sure the software update schedule causes the least disruption to the work routine. 

Having a software update schedule brings everyone into the communication loop. Doing this helps IT and security manage around monthly work schedules to reduce downtime, and employees understand why one Microsoft patch doesn’t cover everything.

Audits at Regular Interval

If there is one single security hole within your network, patches and upgrades will fail. You have to know everything touching the network. That includes every server, every virtual and physical device, every type of operating system and its version and all of the personal devices and Shadow IT. 

Endpoint auditing is not a one-and-done project. Instead, it must happen often to account for new devices onboarded or outdated ones taken offline. 

Policies in which employees are allowed to bring their own devices (BYOD) will be the most difficult piece of the audit and update puzzle. End users are bad enough at ignoring updates on their computers, and they are even worse at mobile device and IoT updates, which aren’t as regular or as often. Consider a mobile device management solution that allows IT and security some control over patch and update management.

Manual Versus Automated Software Update Schedules

Automated is more efficient, as the solutions regularly scan for patch updates and vulnerabilities. The IT team can include those update installations in the software update schedule. 

Automation will keep everything attached to the network updated and secure. However, there may be cases where manual updates are required .A member of the IT or security team would be responsible for conveying this need to the staff, sending reminders of the software update schedule and when emergency patches occur. They should stress the importance of a well-patched system.

This may seem like an overwhelming task, and it can be. But, patching and updating to close gaps is an important and sometimes complicated process. But putting together a regular schedule and having a plan in place streamlines the process. From there, you can avoid the headaches and costs of a severe data breach.