Endpoint Management

Why good update management pays off

09. April 2024, Avatar of Benedict WeidingerBenedict Weidinger

Decision-makers outside the IT sector are not always aware of how quickly inadequately updated systems can become a critical cost factor. Replacing manual updates with automated update management makes more efficient use of IT resources and improves costs and security.

In short

  • Automating IT processes, especially update management, is crucial for reducing costs.
  • Inadequate update management can lead to significant financial losses, business interruptions and security breaches.
  • Effective update and patch management based on evaluation of needs, automation, testing, segmentation and internal communication can improve security and efficiency.

The automation of IT processes is essential if companies want to reduce IT costs. That’s especially true for update and patch management. Manual update processes are time-consuming, labor-intensive, error-prone and inconsistent. That can lead to dangerous security vulnerabilities, lower productivity, data loss and even costly business interruptions.

Unpatched endpoints and vulnerable remote access systems are now considered one of the main contributors to successful cyberattacks. Because patch management is one of our core competencies, we are deeply familiar with the practical benefits and challenges, some of which we covered in our blog on the importance of patch testing. Today, however, we’re looking at the topic from another angle: what are the risks if you don’t keep up with update management?

The hidden costs of unpatched systems

Inadequate or negligent updating of systems can result in enormous productivity and financial losses. The total direct and indirect costs can even exceed expenses for remediating and recovering from other security incidents, including those resulting from users succumbing to phishing emails or opening malicious attachments. There are multiple negative consequences:

Greater security risks

Not patching systems regularly is like leaving your home’s front door unlocked in a high -crime area. Unpatched systems are much more susceptible to known and exploited vulnerabilities, making it easier for attackers to access sensitive data or systems. Security breaches can cause severe financial damage, degrade hard-earned brand reputations and result in legal liability.

Downtime and business disruptions

Unpatched systems often cause unexpected downtime, reduce system performance and reliability, and can lead to productivity and revenue losses. Business interruptions also affect customers, partners and employees by impairing access to essential services and preventing them from completing needed tasks.

Higher operating costs

Systems that are not regularly patched often require more frequent maintenance, more bug fixes and higher support costs. This increases labor costs and downtime. Regular patching, on the other hand, significantly reduces the number of support requests and incidents while increasing productivity and costs.

Compliance violations and penalties

Many industries are now subject to much stricter compliance requirements, e.g., HIPAA, GDPR, NIS2 and the EU AI Act, to protect sensitive data and privacy. Regular patching demonstrates a company's commitment to security and reduces the risks of fines for non-compliance.

Reduced competitiveness

Customers, partners and employees expect secure and stable IT systems. A company that does not regularly patch its systems risks a significant loss of reputation in the event of a major security incident or system crash. Automated update processes can help strengthen trust which is an increasing important competitive advantage if not an explicit business requirement.

5 steps for optimal patch management

Effective patch management significantly lowers the risks and costs of security breaches. Manual patching may be better than nothing, but it’s time-consuming, inconsistent and error-prone – especially in companies with a large and diverse IT environment.

Companies instead should adopt a patch management strategy that prioritizes the most important risks, focuses on critical patches and ensures continuous updates across all systems and devices. Below are some tips for optimizing your patch management processes:

1. Evaluate patch requirements

Start with a thorough assessment of your systems and software to determine which versions are running and the vulnerabilities present. This will allow you to prioritize patches and avoid unnecessary steps and delays.

2. Automate patch processes

Automation saves time and resources. Use proven software solutions or scripts to systematically plan and distribute patches and, above all, to monitor their implementation.

3. Perform patch tests

Before rolling out patches to the entire network, test them in a controlled environment to identify and avoid potential problems.

4. Use segmentation

Network segmentation enables more control over patching and increases network security. Use technologies such as firewalls and VLANs for effective segmentation.

5. Inform users of patch updates

Clear communication about patch schedules and procedures helps your users accommodate them in their workflows and become better aware of security practices.

Automation reduces costs by avoiding risks

Automated update management also significantly improves costs and efficiency and overcomes the risks of delayed or manual patching. Investing in an automated, comprehensive update management solution is far more than just a technology decision – it is an important strategic first step towards ensuring your company's long-term financial stability and continued success. Only truly reliable patch management guarantees a secure, stable and consistently high-performance network environment.

Update management pays off

Reduce financial risks through automated and reliable IT processes with the baramundi Management Suite's update management solutions.

Reduce costs through efficient update management with baramundi

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