In today’s world, where cyber attacks are becoming more and more common, it’s absolutely essential to ensure the security of your computer systems. One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is by regularly patching your operating system.
A patch is a fix that corrects a software vulnerability that could potentially be exploited by malicious actors, and it’s one of the eight risk mitigation strategies laid down by the ACSC.
What is the Essential Eight?
The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) developed the Essential Eight Maturity Model to help organisations to mitigate or prevent cyber security incidents. These strategies cover three key areas – prevention, limitation, and recovery – ranked by maturity (immature to mature).
The Essential Eight mitigation strategies are:
Why you need to patch your operating system
The consequences of not patching your operating systems can be severe. Malware, ransomware, and other forms of cyber-attacks can cause significant financial losses, reputational damage, and even legal liability. In addition, failing to patch your systems can lead to downtime, lost productivity, and other operational disruptions.
By patching your operating system, you can ensure that these vulnerabilities are fixed, and your system is secure. In addition to the security benefits, patching your operating system can also improve performance and fix other issues that may be affecting your computer. Regular updates can help to improve the stability and functionality of your system, ensuring that it runs smoothly and efficiently.
How does patch management work?
The process involves regularly checking for and installing updates, patches, and hotfixes to address any vulnerabilities or bugs that may have been discovered in the software. Patch checks typically involve looking for missing security updates or software patches that may be necessary for optimal performance.
Once patch checks have been completed, updates can be installed manually or automatically. Automatic updates are typically the best option as they ensure that the operating system remains up-to-date with the latest security patches and software updates. This approach also reduces the risk of human error, which can cause problems with the installation process or leave the system vulnerable to attack.
Maturity level strategies
The Essential Eight strategies consist of three levels of maturity that should not be overlooked.
Maturity Level One: Take immediate action against security vulnerabilities by upgrading, patching, or migrating operating systems within a month of identifying any risks. Additionally, replacing or updating unsupported workstation operating systems, ICT equipment, and servers is a must.
Maturity Level Two: This builds on Level One by ensuring that operating systems are updated, patched, or migrated within two weeks of identifying security risks.
Maturity Level Three: The most secure level requires operating systems or firmware to be updated, patched, or migrated within 48 hours of identifying security risks, along with an automated mechanism to confirm and record the proper installation of patches or updates.
Mitigate risk with the Essential Eight experts
Patch management of operating systems is an essential process to keep computer systems secure and up-to-date, and should be conducted regularly to protect your system from known vulnerabilities and bugs, ensuring a secure computing environment.
The cyber security experts at Itopia specialise in applying the Essential Eight risk mitigation strategies to businesses, increasing their maturity levels, and can audit your entire IT environment and recommend the right security solutions to keep your data, accounts, and critical information secure.