Cybercrime is only a concern for SMEs and large corporations that do not have adequate cybersecurity defences in place. The level of preparedness your business requires is largely determined by how much data you store on your servers and the sensitivity of consumer data.
The world we live in is centred around data – so much so that consumer data is regarded as the new oil. Because of the extent to which businesses can leverage data, it’s an invaluable resource.
This is why it’s become a primary target for cybercriminals. Bad actors either steal data to illegally sell it to other companies for significant profits. Alternatively, bad actors use ransomware to hold business data hostage until the company pays the release fee.
The most common fee for ransomware demand on UK SMEs is estimated to be in the region of £8,400 to £17,000. 59% of UK SMEs hijacked by threat actors have paid the ransom.
The prevalence of successful cyber attacks is growing. Official cybersecurity statistics published by the UK government show that 39% of UK businesses reported a cyber attack in the last 12 months.
The survey also revealed that 83% of cyberattacks identified were phishing attempts, whilst one in five were more sophisticated vectors including denial of service, malware, or ransomware.
These types of attacks typically involve exploiting gateways in vulnerable software. This problem could be resolved by patch management services.
Why You Need Patch Management Service
When software is released into the market, it inevitably develops a vulnerability that can be exploited by hackers.
Bad actors have realised that one of the best ways to infiltrate a business network is through vulnerabilities in software. It has been reported that hackers can exploit vulnerabilities in software in as little as 15 minutes.
Exploited gateways include misconfiguration, container flaws, compromised SQL code and broken authentication.
Once cybercriminals access your network, they have the potential to access deeper layers of information including financial records. Unless you install the right cybersecurity tools, jackets can go undetected for some time.
Businesses are not helped by software legislation either. Tech companies, by law, have to publicly report a potential vulnerability in their software. Whilst the warning is supposed to inform customers, it also informs threat actors exactly where the vulnerability is.
Hackers, therefore, can get to work taking advantage of software vulnerabilities without having to discover flaws by themselves.
What’s more, software companies are not held accountable if their product is successfully breached before they have the opportunity to release a security patch. Responsibility for defending business networks is placed squarely on individual companies.
This was evident in the aftermath of the WannaCry attack in 2017 when the identity of more than 200,000 Microsoft customers was exposed after hackers exploited a vulnerability in Microsoft’s Exchange Server.
Companies are held accountable to perform due diligence and limit any potential risks. Regulators may decide a company failed to adequately protect consumer data regardless of whether the breach was a result of a vulnerability in the software they don’t own, and thus can’t do anything about.
Having said that, the law is unclear. It makes more sense that companies will not be punished providing you can show mitigating circumstances. Even still, a data breach can be costly.
According to government data, the average cost of a data breach for small businesses in the UK is £4200. This figure increases to £19,400 for large businesses. These costs include investigating the cause of the breach and installing cybersecurity systems to prevent it from happening again.
Firms that are deemed to have negligently failed to secure consumer data stored on their system will also be issued a penalty by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulations.
Businesses that fail to secure their network are obligated to pay 2% of their global annual turnover or £17million whichever is the higher. But it’s not the fine that cripples businesses.
GDPR also states that businesses have an obligation to inform affected parties of a data breach. Customers naturally lose confidence in brands that fail to keep their data secure and switch companies. The loss of customers causes 60% of companies to fold within six months of a data breach.
The regulators are not on the side of SMEs. A study published by Atlas VPN reveals that GDPR fines increased by 92% in the first part of 2022. Meanwhile, the ICO is scaling back fines on the public sector – which probably means they will attack the private sector with more vigour. And SMEs will no doubt feel the brunt.
Managing Security Patches
The growing threat of cybercriminals and regulators potentially leaves SMEs exposed to bad actors. Performing regular scans to identify potential weaknesses in your business network can significantly reduce the risk of a data breach.
Patch management services identify potential vulnerabilities and give business owners the option to take immediate action. For example, if a software manufacturer reports their plugin has an out-of-date security patch, our IT professionals can recommend and install another plugin that performs the website function you need until the software company release a new security patch.
With more employees working from home, keeping track of security updates is much more difficult. Every device on your business network potentially creates a security risk – especially if the device is carrying software that has a vulnerability.
Tracking and updating security patches is a real headache for IT teams that are responsible for multiple devices used by a distributed workforce. And the more apps and plugins you use, the more security updates you have to perform.
If you do allow a remote workforce to connect to your business network on personal devices, ask yourself these two questions:
1. How much can you trust your employees to update security patches every time a new software update is released?
2. How frustrating will it be for your employees to consistently perform security updates?
Your employees may have to perform security updates two ir three times a week, or even two or three times a day. This will naturally impact their concentration and their productivity.
Patch management services identify and automatically perform security updates in a timely manner. Utilising cloud technology, security updates can be performed from a remote location at any time. This means that your team may never have to down tools whilst the operating system is updated. You just set the update time to run overnight.
Small businesses need patch management services to remove the risk and the burden from their IT team and their employees. And thanks to cloud platforms, remote IT support teams have become more effective and convenient.
Automated Patch Management Services
Regulatory compliance demands companies install better online security to protect sensitive data. Businesses are not only obligated to protect consumer data, but also the data they store about their employees, stakeholders and supply chain.
Businesses are given more security with patch management services because they make patching endpoints hassle-free and convenient. Automated cloud services streamline security updates. But despite these obvious benefits, there are still challenges to overcome that most IT support teams don’t tell you about.
Bear in mind that security patches are expected to be installed within hours of their release. Immediate implementation significantly lowers the risk of suffering a data breach. Automated patch management is the simplest method of performing a system update promptly. Furthermore, the updates should be tested.
A typical business network includes a raft of software that is manufactured by different companies. It is often the case that conflicting software disrupts the functionality of a system. Conflicting software can cause downtime and a loss of productivity.
You will probably have experienced this with third-party apps that fall outside the native eco-system of your smartphone. How many times have you performed a software update and something immediately goes wrong?
These types of glitches can cause downtime and a loss of productivity. In short, software updates are potentially problematic for integrated systems. Patch management services include DevOps which takes into account the functionality of your system as well the wider security strategy.
Whenever security updates are required, sophisticated technologies run compatibility testing and can determine the likelihood of a conflict. Of course, you still require a team of highly skilled cloud professionals to complete compliance checks and perform data analysis.
Challenges of Patch Management
Although businesses need patch management services, there are other factors to consider in order to install best practices.
Cybersecurity can particularly pose a problem for businesses that use cloud software. Sometimes vendors include other components in their updates that change the configuration settings.
It is reported that misconfigured cloud settings are to blame for a high percentage of data breaches. The exact number depends on which report you to read. Suffice it to say, knowledge of cloud tools has an integral part to play in protecting your business network from bad actors.
Consequently, cybersecurity defences are consistently stronger when they are managed from a centralised hub. With 24/7 monitoring tools, specialist knowledge and sophisticated technologies, experienced could professionals are best placed to provide more insight and deliver preventative measures rather than reactive solutions.
Centralising cybersecurity eliminates the fragmentary nature of a distributed workforce and allows you to take advantage of the hybrid working model. Whilst you need patch management services to close vulnerabilities in your network, tracking, analysis, identification, and detection of vulnerable areas cannot be overlooked either.
The foray into cloud solutions can produce false negatives. For example, whilst cloud platforms can create opportunities to deliver products and services quicker, they can also create security risks. The more apps you use to deliver services, the more vulnerable your business network becomes.
Whatever software you choose requires thorough analysis to ensure the tools do not put you at risk of failing compliance. Testing should be covered in your governance and cybersecurity structure policy to address any potential blind corridors.
IT Support in London
Because vendors are legally obliged to publicly report vulnerabilities in their software, companies are at greater risk of suffering a data breach. It’s safe to assume that threat actors are actively searching the web looking for software companies that have announced a gateway in their product.
As a result of regulatory and consumer pressure, there is a growing need for companies to reap the benefits of patch management services. When you have an experienced IT support team that has your back covered, you can take emergency action to install a temporary fix until a permanent solution is available (i.e the security update release).
Although cybersecurity systems should be multi-layered, patch management services are one of the most important shields in any defence line-up. The experienced IT professionals at Micro Pro use sophisticated technologies to effectively manage security updates remotely, identify potential vulnerabilities and keep abreast of the security announcements published by software companies.
Neglecting essential cybersecurity services could be fatal to your business continuity. If cybercriminals achieve a successful data breach, the future of your business could hang in the balance. Speak to our experienced executive team to discuss how our forward-thinking solutions can reduce the risk of a data breach.