Because one of the most effective ways of protecting systems and networks is the timely application of security updates, I'm very much in favor of a planned patch release schedule. Most large software vendors have introduced scheduled patch releases to help improve the manageability and predictability of the patch-management process for their products. There is evidence that scheduled patches are of a better quality with more detailed...
advisories, and that more users deploy them. Other benefits of regular and scheduled patch releases include:
- Predictability allowing for advanced planning, with increased time to evaluate and test.
- Multiple fixes consolidated into one patch, reducing downtime and repeat testing.
- Reduced implementation risks and impact on business processes and users.
Adobe's decision to align its patch releases with Microsoft's will make your job easier in many ways as you won't be faced with a constant stream of patches to test and apply. However, having to install several patches from different vendors at the same time requires careful testing to ensure compatibility. You have to ensure one patch doesn't break another. Personally, I think it may have been better to opt for a release date one or two days after Microsoft's. Nevertheless, being able to timetable known patch release dates makes the job more efficient and that much easier to plan. I would certainly recommend that you align your patch processes to those of your key vendors.
Obviously there are exceptions to any planned patch release schedule if customers are at immediate risk. Most vendors allow for "out-of-band" patches to be released as dictated by the urgency of the issue, and you should have a policy and process for dealing with situations that need remedying as soon as possible. Unfortunately, there's no standardized industry classification or patch-naming conventions, so it's important that administrators responsible for patch management fully understand the patch process operated by their vendors. This will help ensure they understand the relevance of the patch, pack or update and afford it the appropriate urgency.
Dig deeper on Security patch management and Windows Patch Tuesday news
Related Q&A from Michael Cobb
A reported 43% of Microsoft XML users are running vulnerable versions of the software. Security expert Michael Cobb discusses how to mitigate the ...continue reading
Security expert Michael Cobb explains what Open Authorization or OAuth 2.0 is, its pros and cons, and how it is different from bring your own ...continue reading
While the fundamentals of securing an e-commerce website haven't changed in a few years, there are new threat vectors and security risks to be aware ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.