Patching is an extremely important part of maintaining a strong cybersecurity posture for small businesses, yet many businesses do not patch as often as they should. While it might be appealing to delay patching in order to avoid interrupting workflows, doing so can leave small and medium businesses exposed to a wide range of malware attacks and malicious activity. With even a single device unpatched, malicious actors can take advantage of new vulnerabilities and old exploits that have been fixed in newer patches. In this article, we want to explore three of the strongest reasons SMBs want to patch early and patch consistently to improve their cybersecurity posture.
One Device is All it Takes
When it comes to patching devices and applications, small and medium business want to establish patching strategies that cover every device and application in the business. All it takes for a successful attack is one employee to have not updated their device or targeted application, and a hacker can gain access to the company’s network. Your IT staff should also have a strong understanding of the hardware such as networking equipment and servers that the company needs to regularly patch as well. Malicious actors will exploit any unpatched system they happen to find, and wide net cyberattacks could cause damage to the business if it successfully attacks an employee’s unpatched application.
Newly Found Vulnerabilities
It is not uncommon for software services to patch vulnerabilities they find that have not been actively exploited by hackers. Despite the patch, malicious actors may begin to try and leverage newly patched vulnerabilities in phishing campaigns or other attacks. This is because bad actors know many employees will not patch their applications quickly, so they can take advantage of this and steal company data or launch malware attacks against SMBs. Hackers will also try to leverage newly found exploits against business hardware, hoping to gain unauthorized access to servers or networking devices that have not been patched promptly.
Neglecting to patch devices and applications in the short term can expose businesses to unnecessary risk, and the longer systems go unpatched, the more exploits a company becomes vulnerable to. As code ages, malicious actors will find exploits that allow for remote code execution, device takeover, data theft, and other malicious activity, and the number of attacks those systems are vulnerable to will increase over time. This is because an exploit can be found in future patches that works on older versions, meaning malicious actors will be actively using an exploit old code versions are vulnerable to.
The need for patching cannot be understated, and how critical it is to a business’ security posture is the reason so many devices and applications need frequent patches. While patching may interrupt workflows, employees should be trained to patch quickly and frequently to ensure they do not create unnecessary threat surfaces for the business. Alternatively, businesses can work with a reliable IT consultant, like our team here at Robinett Consulting, to implement patch management solutions, so your business’ patching needs can be handled automatically when it’s most convenient!
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