Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

4 Steps For Trimming Patch Management Time

The heat is on to protect your systems from the newest exploits; here's a look at how to speed up patching without causing problems

3. Know who needs to know and who signs off.

Approval paths can be time drains down which patch promptness can all too easily drown. Because even the most efficient patch deployments can cause downtime, it's important both to make technical issues clear to nontechnical staff who must sign off on the patch, and to ensure IT understands the business implications of the patch. Communicating clearly in advance that you need to add extra time to the email server's scheduled maintenance, for instance, takes less time than explaining during the downtime why it's taking so long.

"Preapproval of patch deployment authorities is not only an important aspect of an organization's emergency plan," says Andrew Bosch, product manager at Symantec, "[but] it can save vital time and anxiety in critical situations."

With the right people identified in advance, especially in relation to critical systems, "You're not going to be chasing people in the middle of the night to find out when you can patch a critical server," Bosch says.

This one should be among the simplest and most straightforward steps, but bear in mind it involves people, authority, and almost undoubtedly politics, each of which could add to the time required to get sign-off on the sign-off list.

Time-saver: Create and maintain a comprehensive patch deployment approval and sign-off path along with your systems inventory, including emergency and off-hour contact information for all personnel on the list.

4. Take time to test patches before going operational.

Even the most critical and time-sensitive patches, such as those that seal holes that are being actively and aggressively exploited in the wild, must be thoroughly tested before deployment. In fact, those critical and often rushed-to-distribution patches could require more testing before you unleash them on your systems.

So it's crucial that your test platforms and procedures related to them be established and in place constantly, not just assembled on an ad-hoc basis the day of a patch release.

Symantec's Bosch recommends building one day of test time into your planned deployment schedules.

Pay attention as well to patch-testing with new and emergent technologies your organization is using, and with an eye toward easily overlooked things. Don't forget virtualization software and virtual machines, for example.

The initial time investment required to include and establish all systems in your ongoing test platform, and especially the time required to add new systems and applications as soon as they are introduced, will be offset by the time savings achieved by your familiarity with those systems when patches for them are released.

"Patch testing shouldn't be an adventure every time," Bosch says.

Time-saver: Establish comprehensive patch test platforms, including platforms for new technologies and configurations ahead of time, and make their maintenance, readiness, and upgrades an ongoing part of your operations overhead and budget. Build a day of patch-test time into your patch deployment schedule.

Meanwhile, patches, both scheduled and emergency, require planning and time allocation.

You must address in advance the time required to prioritize, schedule, authorize, and test both the patches themselves and your organization's ability to manage patch deployment -- in both technical and business operations contexts. That's the only way to ensure a relatively painless patch process.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Previous
2 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Navigating Security in the Cloud
Diya Jolly, Chief Product Officer, Okta,  12/4/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-16772
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-07
The serialize-to-js NPM package before version 3.0.1 is vulnerable to Cross-site Scripting (XSS). It does not properly mitigate against unsafe characters in serialized regular expressions. This vulnerability is not affected on Node.js environment since Node.js's implementation of RegExp.prototype.to...
CVE-2019-9464
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In various functions of RecentLocationApps.java, DevicePolicyManagerService.java, and RecognitionService.java, there is an incorrect warning indicating an app accessed the user's location. This could dissolve the trust in the platform's permission system, with no additional execution privileges need...
CVE-2019-2220
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In checkOperation of AppOpsService.java, there is a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to mishandling application suspend. This could lead to local information disclosure no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVers...
CVE-2019-2221
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
In hasActivityInVisibleTask of WindowProcessController.java there?s a possible bypass of user interaction requirements due to incorrect handling of top activities in INITIALIZING state. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction ...
CVE-2019-2222
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-06
n ihevcd_parse_slice_data of ihevcd_parse_slice.c, there is a possible out of bounds write due to a missing bounds check. This could lead to remote code execution with no additional execution privileges needed. User interaction is needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android-8.0 Android...