Top 5 Challenges in Security Patch Management



A massive total of 3,950 confirmed security breaches have been recorded in 2020 so far. This total is almost twice the amount of the total breaches recorded in 2019. Global companies like Twitter, Marriot, and Zoom too have faced security breaches in 2020(Pallavi Dutta, Kratikal Blog). Ever since the organisations adapted to a remote working culture, there has been a significant increase in the number of security breaches. Lack of security patch management has resulted in an increase in the number of security incidents across all the industries. Patches are the software updates that are designed to fix the vulnerabilities present in an application or an operating system. Most of the security breaches are occurred by unpatched vulnerabilities. Regardless of the industry, each organisation maintains a secure set of sensitive information. Therefore organisations must first and foremost secure the information that is stored in the system. Unfortunately, most organisations offer resistance in managing security patches and here are the reasons why:

1. Time Consumption

Patching vulnerabilities can be very much time-consuming. Critical cases with multiple environments, multiple nodes, and manual process overheads may take beyond 50 days to get patched. It would even need system restarts that would cause critical downtimes. This is one of main reasons why organisations are reluctant in patching vulnerabilities, which leaves the systems vulnerable to security breaches. Most of the organisations manage to do their patching process after business hours so that the business gets least affected by the update.

2. Diversity of Patches

Most of the common myth that organisations have is that patch management is only related to the operating system. The truth is that even 3rd party applications have patches too. It becomes difficult to track the details about the version of software used in nodes unless the nodes have shared software. A survey says that 67% of the security teams experience difficulty in understanding which patches need to be applied for which system (Source : Secpod).

3. Irregularity in Patching Process

Patches are created to serve purposes like security, compliance, and feature improvements. Vendors release their security patches after verifying a vulnerability in their application. This is a continuous process that happens in irregular intervals; therefore, the organisations will have to update their system regularly. This can cause system interruptions. Usually, enterprises follow a structured plan to update their systems to avoid unnecessary downtimes in the system.

4. Functionality Changes and Incompatibilities

Managers are unhappy with the patches since some patches come with functionality changes. Due to this, the risk of interruption of dependent applications and systems are high. The organisations are hesitant about the risk associated with installing a patch as it might impact their core functions. Some big organisations are still maintaining legacy systems in their environment due to this fear of impact.

5. Resistance from the employees

Only 10% of the people respond to change when forced to embrace change, and 80% of the people would not do anything about the change ( Source : Remi's Rebarks) Employees prefer to work without any interruption to their day to day activities. Patches consist of improved features that add changes to the functionality/flow of the system. These changes in the system would be inconvenient for the employees to adapt to while working with the system. Therefore, productivity of the employees are affected.

Conclusion

Even though patch management saves organisations from external threats, organisations hesitate to make a decision about patch management. Around 57% of the security incidents happen due to poor patch management (Source: Ponemon). Therefore it is always good to be proactive than being reactive to a security incident. The interruptions associated with patch management could be successfully optimized by following the guidance of industry experts in this field.

With several decades of experience in providing global level solutions and services, hSenid Mobile is introducing an automated patch management solution for enterprises. hSenid Mobile Automated patch management tool could be an all in one solution to eliminate the challenges mentioned above.


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