More to Patching Than Meets the Eye

Patching is much more than running the corrective code for vulnerabilities of which you are aware; it is making sure everything in your cloud environment is looked at and compliance steps are followed to repeatedly meet your baseline. Follow these best practices to reduce your vulnerability.

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More to Patching Than Meets the Eye

With multiple users accessing your cloud, vulnerabilities are more prevalent than ever. In 2019, 60% of breaches involved unpatched vulnerabilities How involved are you with patching your cloud environment? Are you running through the necessary steps to ensure your patching process is not only securing your environment, but is also not affecting your end users access and productivity?  

The first step of patching is to define a baseline. Every patch that is done should build off of this baseline and drive all long-term patching solutions. Having a patching baseline allows you to mitigate vulnerabilities with the security team, so you are not constantly fixing the same issue. It also enables you to build the right solution for your multiple locations, regions, and devices. 

The second step of patching is to have well-defined compliance reporting across your cloud environment. In-depth reporting will allow you to identify the devices that are out of compliance with your patch baseline, thus allowing you to appropriately remediate. 

The third step is to define roles and responsibilities for those involved in patching your environment – whether it be internal team members or an outside vendor. You are responsible for the security of your cloud environment, so you must be the one to outline and enforce these roles. This sets clear standards of who does what when it comes to patching, which then ensures compliance will be met and the baseline continues to be the driving force. 

Automating the patching of your cloud environment can work in certain instances; it must not be the only solution for your environment though. In 2020, there were over 12,000 common vulnerabilities and exposures reported.² Did you check into each one? Do you have the time to look for, fix, test and document each patched vulnerability? 

Patching is much more than running the corrective code for vulnerabilities of which you are aware; it is making sure everything in your cloud environment is looked at and compliance steps are followed to repeatedly meet your baseline. The variables of how many users and how your cloud environment is set up (fully in the cloud or hybrid) are factors of patch management too, which can add more work to your team. 

Patch management includes³: 

  • Patch management product roadmap execution 
  • Patch management architecture and design 
  • Patch management development and configuration 
  • Patch management validation and testing 
  • New account, application, and server onboarding for patching 
  • User engagement and enablement 
  • User feedback and escalation management 
  • Product change management 
  • Issue management and resolution 
  • Server patching and patch compliance
  • Patch baseline configurations 
  • Patch reporting and compliance 

1 (2019, October). “60% of Breaches in 2019 Involved Unpatched Vulnerabilities.” Security Boulevard.

2 (2020, March). “Missing Patches, Misconfigurations Top Technical Breach Causes.” Dark Reading.—threats/missing-patches-misconfiguration-top-technical-breach-causes/d/d-id/1337410

3 (2020, June). AWS Prescriptive Guidance Automated patching for non-immutable instances in the hybrid cloud using AWS Systems Manager.” AWS.

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