Third-party app patch management is what this blog is about. But hang on; first, let’s take a quick detour into the world of apps.
Is there any task in this world today for which there isn’t an app? Of course, no app can cook your food! We are a long way away from such Sci-Fi, fantasy world. Yet, from the simplest text messaging to the slightly complex tasks like managing finances or tracking health, there’s an application for everything under the sun.
Third-party applications are developed for specific purposes and functions which core operating systems and associated apps can’t offer
We rely every day on third-party applications to get our work done irrespective of the device—smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. These apps can be convenient and time-saving, but they can also play host to significant attack vectors for the security posture of organizations. Bad actors often exploit unpatched vulnerabilities in these apps to access confidential corporate data or launch vicious attacks on our networks and systems.
So, we’re here to discuss the compelling case of third-party app patch management to protect your business from cyber threats.
What is Third-party App Patch Management?
Before we start to discuss the pressing need for third-party app patch management, let’s take a moment to define it clearly.
Third-party app patch management refers to the process of identifying and updating vulnerabilities in third-party applications.
When a software vendor releases an update, it often covers security patches that address known vulnerabilities. These patches are critical to maintaining the integrity and performance of the app, as well as the security of your systems and data. Mobile device management (MDM) solutions like Scalefusion offer automated third-party app management.
Why is Third-party App Patch Management Important?
Bad actors are always on the prowl to exploit vulnerabilities. Cyberattacks aren’t as easy to detect as broken bones. In fact, an IBM-Blumira study1 found the average data breach lifecycle to be 287 days—212 days to detect and 75 days to contain.
287 days is a long time for a cybercriminal to have access to your sensitive corporate data. One of the most common ways that hackers gain access is through unpatched software vulnerabilities. You can reduce cybersecurity risks to a large extent when you keep third-party apps patched and updated.
Risks of Not Patching Third-party Apps
The consequences of not patching your third-party apps can be severe. Here are a few examples:
Malware Infections: One of the most significant risks of not patching your third-party apps is malware infections. Hackers often use unpatched vulnerabilities in software to install malware on your systems. Once malware is installed, it can be used to steal sensitive data, launch attacks, or even take control of your systems.
Data Breaches: As mentioned earlier, data breaches can be devastating for businesses. When hackers gain access to sensitive data, they can use it for financial gain or even sell it on the dark web. Not only can this damage your reputation, but it can also result in hefty fines and legal fees.
Loss of Productivity: When infected with malware, devices at work (company-owned, customer-facing or employee-owned) can hamper productivity. They may slow down, crash, or even become unusable. This can lead to downtime, lost revenue, and frustrated employees and customers.
Benefits of Third-party App Patch Management
When done right and on time, patching third-party apps offers a lot to organizations and their IT and cybersecurity teams.
Here’s a list of benefits of third-party app patch management:
Improved Security: Apps patched to the latest version are less susceptible to vulnerability exploitation from malicious minds of the web, reducing your attack surface by a good margin. This in itself is a no-brainer for IT and cybersecurity teams to prioritize patch management of third-party apps on devices accessing corporate data.
Better Performance: In addition to improved security, timely patching of third-party apps leads to better device performance. Software updates often include bug fixes and other optimizations that can improve the stability and speed of your applications. Don’t forget the handy new features or improved UI/UX, which are part of app updates.
Compliance: Many industries have specific compliance requirements that businesses must adhere to. By patching your third-party apps, you can ensure that you’re meeting these requirements and avoid any potential fines or penalties.
How to Implement Third-party App Patch Management
The abovementioned risks and benefits surrounding third-party app patch management are pragmatic enough. Here’s how IT admins can implement a third-party patching process in their organizations.
Inventory Your Applications: The first step in implementing third-party app patch management is to inventory your applications. This means identifying all the third-party apps your organization uses and keeping track of their version numbers and release dates.
Monitor for Updates: Once you’ve inventoried your applications, you’ll need to monitor for updates. Most software vendors will notify users of new updates, but you can also use tools like vulnerability scanners and patch management software to stay up to date.
Test Updates: Before applying patches, testing them in a controlled environment is important. This will help ensure the patch updates don’t cause compatibility issues or unintended consequences.
Prioritize Updates: Not all updates are created equal. Some updates may be more critical than others, depending on the severity of the vulnerability they address. It’s important to prioritize updates and apply critical ones as soon as possible.
Automate Updates: One of the most effective ways to ensure that your third-party apps stay up to date is to automate the patch management process. Scalefusion MDM currently offers seamless patch management for third-party apps running on Windows devices.
IT and cybersecurity admins can ill-afford to leave devices that store and access corporate data with unpatched third-party apps. Cyber threats can turn into disasters for organizations when bad actors sneak into devices through vulnerable patches in third-party apps.
Don’t let risks turn into cybersecurity catastrophes. Opt for Scalefusion MDM to protect your devices with automated third-party app patch management. Speak to our team of experts or get rolling with a 14-day free trial.