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June 2005

Editor's Desk: Patch Tuesday in the real world

Patching Routine It wasn't that long ago that patching was an all-hands-on-deck emergency. At the first inkling that Microsoft (or any vendor) was releasing a fix, security managers would muster their staffs to begin the arduous process of testing, installing and retesting vulnerable machines. Even with the utmost diligence, getting to every machine was next to impossible. In the worst cases--such as the first three patches for the MSDE vulnerability exploited by the Slammer worm--the patch either didn't work or undid previous fixes. For years, we've heard enterprises bemoan the lack of reliable automated patching tools and vendor support. Worse, the poor quality of patches--particularly from Microsoft--has opened new vulnerabilities or broke critical applications. Despite the risks, patching remained a top priority. The mantra: Patch or perish. Information Security and took a firsthand look at the state of patching by visiting a number of enterprises on Patch Tuesday--the second Tuesday of every month when ...

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