You’ve heard the term, but what is the actual security patches definition and what are they actually all about? Read on to find out.
Similar to how software receives updates to fix a bug or update an existing feature, security patches are also software updates, but for protective purposes.
What is the Definition of Security Patches?
Often, companies release bugs and vulnerabilities with their software. But later on, their developers get notified of the flaws. And once the bugs are discovered, they develop a solution and distribute it to their users. This update to the software is called a security patch.
A security patch is a software patch designed to fix security vulnerabilities in applications, operating systems, and embedded systems.
When cyber attackers discover security vulnerabilities in an application, they can exploit and use it to breach an organization.
For example, suppose there is a bug allowing any user access to administrative privileges. In that case, it could compromise sensitive data that can be exploited if it gets into the wrong hands. For this reason, many organizations implement security patches to ensure their network security.
Why are Security Patches Important?
Many data hacks in history might have been easily prevented with a simple security patch. According to the Ponemon Institute Vulnerability Survey, 60% of breach victims stated that they were breached due to an unpatched known vulnerability where the security patch was not applied.
This shows that implementing security patches is crucial in every organization. It can save them from losing millions of sensitive data to cybercriminals.
Sadly, many companies delay or ignore security patching, till their network is breached.
Here are a few reasons why security patches are essential:
Cybersecurity: Malware is often used by criminals to exploit security flaws and provide access to sensitive data. Security patches can help mitigate these threats and keep out hackers if deployed early and regularly.
Uptime: Software bugs can prevent your applications from running smoothly, resulting in unnecessary downtimes. This can affect your employees’ productivity or prevent your customers from utilizing your services well. A single security patch can significantly increase your network productivity and your entire workforce.
Compliance: If you experience a breach due to a vulnerability for which a fix is available, it presents an abysmal picture of your company to the public and the regulatory bodies. You could be penalized severely, as it gives the impression that security isn’t your priority. Utilizing security patches is another way to ensure that your company is compliant with regulatory standards.
Feature Improvements: Security patches frequently incorporate new features or functional upgrades in addition to bug fixes. Thus, patching can provide you access to the latest software features that can help improve your organization’s performance.
Protection of Connected Systems: Hackers can also take advantage of systems without patches to establish an entry point to their connected networks. Instead of just stealing information from the affected device, the hacker uses it as an entry point to a more extensive network of connected devices. Deploying security patches regularly can help prevent this.