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Step-by-Step Guide: Best practices for security patch management

This step-by-step guide offers best practices on how to deploy a security patch and provides the tools you will need to mitigate the risk of a compromised computer.

Patch management has plagued organizations for years and continues to be a popular topic of discussion. As technology...

evolves and attackers develop new methods to exploit vulnerabilities, the management of computer security becomes increasingly critical in maintaining the integrity of the business infrastructure. As a proactive initiative, security patch management is the primary line of defense for protecting a corporate computing infrastructure.

Patch management is the people, procedures and technology responsible for keeping computers current with updates developed for an existing software product. Security patch management is patch management with a focus on reducing security vulnerabilities. It should not be a defensive procedure in reaction to critical incidents. There are emergencies that warrant such cases, but security patch management should primarily be a proactive procedure for keeping the environment secure and reliable. Security patch management as a functioning procedure ensures that all identified software updates are in place, thereby eliminating vulnerabilities from the environment and mitigating the risk of computers being compromised.

This step-by-step guide explains how to successfully deploy a security patch, including the security patch testing phase, the physical patch deployment phase and the post deployment review.

Step-by-Step Guide: Best practices for security patch management
   How to prepare for security patch testing
   Security patch testing and deployment phase
   Security patch validation and verification


Felicia Nicastro, CISSP, CHSP, ISSMP is a Principal Consultant with International Network Services (INS), with over seven years in the information security field. Felicia's areas of expertise include security policies and procedures, security assessments and security architecture planning, design, implementation and operation. Felicia has also authored a book on patch management, titled Curing the Patch Management Headache, which was released in February 2005.


This was last published in September 2005

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