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Cybersecurity Tip #5: Maintain Timely Updates

By SolarWinds Passportal

#CyberSecurityTip: Update your security software as soon you receive the alert urging you to do so. Software updates are critical, as they can remove key cybersecurity weaknesses. If you don’t keep your systems up-to-date, you could be exposing yourself to cyberthreats.

Managed services providers (MSPs) are often so focused on keeping their customers safe, they may forget about their own software updates—but it’s important to remember that if the MSP is vulnerable, their customers may be vulnerable. On top of maintaining timely software updates, MSPs can also help their customers stay safe by implementing an automated patch management process.

Why updates and patches are critical

Application updates are central to maintaining network security. When systems go on the market, they often have vulnerabilities that have not yet been discovered. Once detected, these vulnerabilities become an easy way for hackers to attack your software. In order to protect themselves and their customers, MSPs need to have policies in place that help ensure updates are installed in a timely fashion—whether they are full updates or smaller patches.

Patches, which are bits of code inserted to fill in vulnerabilities in individual systems, have become a core element of cybersecurity. Given how frequently new security threats arise nowadays, patches provide an easy way to keep up with these threats through minor updates and improvements. While it is possible to manually update security essentials with patches, it is far better to develop an established patch management process that allows administrators to control patch distribution across the network.

How MSPs can aid patching

MSPs can help protect their customers by developing a patch management system. Ideally, this should be an automated system that ensures installations happen outside of critical work hours to avoid disruptions for your customers. 

In general, a patch management system should maintain up-to-date knowledge of available patches, decide what patches are needed for which systems, install key patches, and test that the systems are working correctly after installation. Such a system helps ensure nothing slips through the cracks, especially for software that often goes unused and but could still become the entry point for a significant attack.

Keeping systems and applications updated is critical to strong cybersecurity. With the help of patch management systems, MSPs can be confident their customers are minimizing vulnerabilities to protect against hackers.

Additional reading

SolarWinds® adds Passportal suite to its MSP product portfolio. MSP security, simplified. SolarWinds® Passportal + Documentation Manager is a SOC 2 certified, RAPID 7 tested, award winning platform.

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