Recently, the Identity Theft Resource Center published a study showing that by Q3 of 2021, organizations had seen more IT security compromises than the entirety of 2020. Unfortunately, the frequency and severity of cyberattacks are only expected to rise as the world becomes increasingly integrated with IoT-connected technology. According to a VentureBeat report, 79% of IT security teams have seen an increase in endpoint attacks since the start of 2021. When this figure is compared to a 2020 Ponemon Institute study, which found that 68% of organizations surveyed reported one or more endpoint attacks, it’s clear this trend is not slowing down.
Witnessing the dramatic rise in cybercrime, the White House released a statement this summer, encouraging the private sector to step up its cybersecurity efforts.
“The Federal Government cannot do this alone,” said the Biden administration, “and securing our critical infrastructure requires a whole-of-nation effort.” So how can organizations stay ahead of bad actors and mitigate the risk of breaches? The first place to start is endpoint visibility and ensuring your systems are updated with the latest security patches.
What is endpoint patch visibility?
In IT security, an endpoint is any device that acts as a physical network node. This includes the obvious devices like laptops, computers, phones and tablets, but it also consists of servers and virtual environments. Patches are simply software updates that add new features and functions to your applications; or, in the case of security updates, fix vulnerabilities and technical issues. Endpoint patch visibility, therefore, refers to the ability to monitor and update endpoint devices with the latest security patches. This can be performed by IT security specialists, an automated management tool, or a combination of the two.
While patches are typically short-term solutions until the next official release, it’s vital to keep your systems up to date with the latest software to ensure that your organization is secure. IT security teams should review the most recent patch releases to ensure that they don’t come with new exploits, test for compatibility and prioritize patching efforts based on the vulnerability of affected endpoints.
Why is endpoint patch management so critical?
According to Security Intelligence, data breaches cost organizations an average of $4.24 million per incident in 2021. Unpatched software and operating systems are one of the leading causes of these security breaches, underlining the importance of endpoint patch management. However, security patches can take months to fully implement. In the previously mentioned study by Ponemon Institute, researchers found that it takes an average of 97 days to fully test and deploy security updates. As more organizations are switching to remote work models, IT teams have become inundated with new endpoint devices to secure and maintain, increasing the need for patch management and visibility solutions.
How to gain endpoint visibility and mitigate threats
In the modern age, it’s nearly impossible for companies to stay competitive without integrating connected devices. To take advantage of all that technology has to offer while reducing security risks, organizations must implement effective endpoint visibility and patch management solutions. With the information these services provide, IT security teams can assess the risk level associated with individual endpoints and mitigate threats through vulnerability management steps.
For endpoint visibility and patch management to be successful, IT teams must follow the steps outlined below:
In this first stage, organizations must establish who has access to their network and which devices they’re using. This means taking account of all connected endpoints and IoT devices, the operating software for each and any unpatched vulnerabilities. As endpoint machines and virtual devices tend to be impermanent and highly mobile, this process must be continuous to combat the dynamic nature of cybersecurity threats.
Assess and prioritize
Security patches can take multiple months to complete, and IT teams don’t always have the time and resources to address new threats as they appear. Therefore, it’s essential to assess which endpoints are most vulnerable and prioritize remediation efforts to critical flaws and devices.
Once a threat is sufficiently mitigated, organizations must continue to monitor assets to prevent future attacks. Endpoint management solutions can help track these devices and share threat intelligence with IT security teams. With this knowledge, organizations can determine which devices need security updates, allocate resources to patch these vulnerabilities and communicate effectively with stakeholders.
Maximize your endpoint control with a patch management tool
At Faronics, we specialize in computer software designed with security in mind. Faronics’ Deep Freeze Cloud is an easy-to-use patch management tool providing maximum control over software applications. Combined with our IoT-based IT application, Deploy, companies can manage all of their endpoint devices with real-time visibility, automate security updates and compile computer information and app usage data.
To learn more about Faronics’ Deploy and Deep Freeze Cloud, contact us today.