Over 70% of cyber attacks exploit known vulnerabilities on systems with patches available to prevent such attacks. That is according to Verizon in their annual data breach report.
So the simple answer to prevent over 70% of possible attacks is to make sure that your systems are up to date.
Easier said than done is what you might be thinking right now, and from experience I’d have to agree with you. So here’s some suggestions to help you get your systems patched up and keep them that way.
Keep Your Endpoint and Server Systems as Homogenous as Possible
Having a standard for hardware and a standard for software that you stick to as much as possible will help you in your efforts to keep your systems.
Work with your end users to find ways to work within the standards before going outside of them.
Clearly communicate to leaders in your organization and to end users why it’s important maintain standards and keep systems up to date in order to prevent cyber attacks.
Document Your Update Plan and Procedures
Make sure you have a well defined system for checking for and implementing security and other key system updates.
Spot test select endpoints and systems to see if they’ve been patched at least on a monthly basis.
Make updates to your plan and procedure on at least a quarterly basis. Look for ways to improve your plan and do your best to make sure it’s relevant.
Simplify and Modernize Your Endpoints and Systems
Old systems, and especially ones that are end of life, don’t tend to get the love from their manufacturers in terms of updates and security like their newer products.
Find cost effective ways to make sure you systems are updated in intervals to keep your environment as secure as possible.
Cloud based services can be an effective way to both simplify the software footprint on endpoint devices and increase security by outsourcing it to companies with staff in place dedicated to security and continuity that you may not have a budget for at your company.
Get the Ball Rolling
Keeping all endpoints and systems up to date can be a daunting task. Remember, you don’t have to do it all at once.
Put together a plan to get things up to speed and keep it that way. Make sure at least a small amount of effort is applied every day towards the end goal. 15 minutes to an hour every day will build up momentum and help you to build your plans and put them into practice. After a few months you will see significant progress even in the worst of cases.