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Can Your Patching Strategy Keep Up with the Demands of Open Source?
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REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
6/18/2019 | 2:31:15 PM
On Open Source, Freeware and other slithy toves
I have liked shareware ages ago because it was fun and generally free.  These days it is also wide open available and as an open door product, I have never considered for use in a corporate environment.  Rather like having an old 1950's Oldsmobile in the back yard - easy to break into.  It just is a risk by itself and patching is the next nightmare, point of this article.  Indeed you have to devote some resource and time to patching - no Patch tuesday here.  It just never struck me in the right vein and, today, I have none of it at all.   
timintech
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timintech,
User Rank: Author
6/18/2019 | 3:31:35 PM
Re: On Open Source, Freeware and other slithy toves
The most interesting thing we see when auditing an application is how strongly some teams hold on to the perception there is no, or at best limited, use of open source technologies in their applications or environments. The reality is that open source is part of most modern applications – be it in the app itself or how its deployed. Not knowing what you've got is the easiest way to get blind-sided. That's why the patch management strategy is so crucial, and if you'd prefer a patch Tuesday type model, there are many vendors out there who'll happily provide that type of service for a license/support fee. Just be careful to get that complete inventory so you can ensure full compliance from all vendors - otherwise that 50s Olds experience could be the result!

 
REISEN1955
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REISEN1955,
User Rank: Ninja
6/19/2019 | 8:40:28 AM
Re: On Open Source, Freeware and other slithy toves
i neglected to comment that some open source or shareware can be VERY VERY useful, performing short-cut work that off the shelf applications do not and, by that virtue, are beloved.  That said, IT professionals then have to weigh the risk-reward equation on this product.  Is it worth the ease of task vs. ease of infection and lack or difficulty of patching resources.   There is also the severity of platform mount - is the software on a non-important system or a critical host server.  Some of it is just grand for programming.  Single workstation, ok, a threat point but not a server.  So it is a balance act between threat and gain. 
timintech
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timintech,
User Rank: Author
6/19/2019 | 10:05:28 AM
Re: On Open Source, Freeware and other slithy toves
My core point being that open source components are likely throughout your environment, not just in a test area. That's in large part due to the types of problems solved. So, if you look closely at any firmware, you'll likely see open source components in there. The same goes for virtualization and containerization software or public cloud infrastructure. Even Microsoft is a huge supporter of open source with over 2500 projects published on GitHub and .Net Core available under an MIT license.

Net of this, you're absolutely right that a risk reward tradeoff is required – it's just that with the ubiquity of open source usage in commercial applications, you're going to want to ensure you know what's being used or embedded regardless of where it originated.


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