Security Patch Management: Trends and Predictions for 2024

Security Patch Management Trends

Security patch management is critical in maintaining the integrity and robustness of computer systems. It refers to managing, installing, and testing security patches for software applications, operating systems, and supporting infrastructure. These patches are code changes that rectify software vulnerabilities, ensuring the system is up-to-date and shielded against potential security threats.

Though it might seem simple, security patch management is a complex process that demands a meticulous approach that involves identifying vulnerable systems, prioritizing patches based on their importance, testing these patches before deployment, and monitoring systems after patch implementation to ensure no service disruption.

This article looks at the current state of security patch management, along with trends and predictions for how it may change (or stay the same) in 2024. #security #Infosec Share on X

The Current State of Security Patch Management

Many organizations struggle with security patch management due to a lack of resources, expertise, or process understanding. A common challenge is the exponential growth in the number of IT assets and the sheer volume of patches released, making it difficult for IT teams to keep up and prioritize effectively. This is further complicated by the increasing complexity of IT environments, with diverse systems and software needing different patches.

However, despite these challenges, there’s a growing recognition of the importance of effective security patch management. More and more organizations are investing in dedicated security patch management solutions, leveraging automation to streamline the process and prioritizing security patch management in their cybersecurity strategies.

Most organizations still have a long way to go. Too many organizations are reactive rather than proactive regarding security patch management. Instead of putting together a comprehensive vulnerability management program, they wait until a vulnerability is exploited before they take action.

This approach is not only risky, but it’s also costly. The fallout from a cyber attack can be far more expensive than the cost of implementing an effective security patch management strategy in the first place.

Expansion of Security Patch Management in the Remote Workforce.

The COVID-19 pandemic started a global shift to remote work, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. With more employees working from home, organizations must ensure their remote devices are as secure as their in-office systems.

'In 2024 there will be a growing emphasis on educating employees about the importance of keeping their systems updated & their role in maintaining #cybersecurity.' Share on X

Remote work introduces new vulnerabilities as employees access company networks from various locations and devices. Security patch management for remote workers is set to become even more critical. Organizations will need to invest in solutions that allow for the efficient deployment and management of patches across dispersed networks and devices.

In addition, as remote work becomes the norm, there will be a growing emphasis on educating employees about the importance of keeping their systems updated and their role in maintaining cybersecurity.

Widespread Adoption of SBOM

Another trend to watch out for in 2024 is the widespread adoption of the Software Bill of Materials (SBOM). This is a comprehensive inventory of all components used in a software product, including open-source and third-party components. An SBOM allows organizations to clearly understand their software’s composition, making identifying and managing vulnerabilities easier.

The adoption of SBOMs will play a crucial role in improving security patch management practices. With a clear view of all software components, organizations can more quickly identify which components require updating or patching when a vulnerability is discovered. This can significantly reduce the time to respond to security threats, improving overall cybersecurity posture.

Using Cloud Services for Security Patch Management

The third trend to anticipate in 2024 is the growing reliance on cloud services for security patch management. Cloud-based security patch management solutions offer several advantages over traditional on-premises solutions. They can easily scale to accommodate an organization’s evolving needs, simplify the security patch deployment process, and provide real-time visibility into the patch status of all devices, regardless of their location.

One 'trend' to look out for in 2024 is the growing reliance on #cloud services for #security patch management. This article explains more. Share on X

As more organizations move their operations to the cloud, it’s reasonable to expect cloud-based security patch management solutions to become increasingly popular. This shift will require a new approach to security patch management, focusing on managing and securing cloud-based applications and infrastructure.

Predictive Patching and Vulnerability Identification

Predictive patching is transforming how organizations manage their security. Predictive patching allows organizations to identify potential threats and address them in advance instead of waiting for a vulnerability to be exploited or for a patch to be released.

This approach is facilitated by advancements in threat intelligence and vulnerability scanning technologies. These tools are becoming more sophisticated, capable of analyzing vast amounts of data and detecting patterns that could indicate an upcoming threat.

In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are crucial in predictive patching. These technologies are used to develop models that can accurately predict future vulnerabilities based on historical data and current trends.

Integrating Security Patch Management into the DevSecOps Cycle

In recent years, there’s been a shift towards integrating security into the entire DevOps cycle – a practice commonly known as DevSecOps. As part of this trend, security patch management is being embedded seamlessly into the DevSecOps cycle.

'In 2024, expect security patch management to be embedded seamlessly into the #DevSecOps cycle.' #infosec Share on X

This shift is essential for maintaining continuous security throughout the software development lifecycle. It ensures that security patches are applied promptly, thereby reducing the window of opportunity for attackers.

With the help of automation, security patch management is being integrated into various stages of the DevSecOps cycle. For instance, automated patch-testing tools are used to identify and fix vulnerabilities during the development and testing stages. Similarly, automated deployment tools are used to apply patches during deployment.

Growth in Zero Trust Security Models

The Zero Trust security model is another trend that’s set to influence security patch management in the coming years. This approach assumes no user or system can be trusted by default, even inside the network perimeter.

In relation to security patch management, Zero Trust models necessitate frequent and thorough patching. Since every system is potentially a threat, keeping all systems patched and up-to-date is essential to minimize vulnerabilities.

Advancements in IoT and Endpoint Device Patching

With the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices and endpoint devices, patching has become more challenging. These devices often run on different platforms and have unique vulnerabilities, making security patch management complex.

However, advancements in IoT and endpoint device patching are set to ease this challenge. For instance, the development of universal security patch management tools is underway. These tools can manage patches across different types of devices and platforms, thereby simplifying the patching process.

The future of security patch management is full of exciting possibilities. However, the ultimate goal remains the same – to ensure every device in the organization is securely patched and avoid costly security surprises.

Please use the website search capability to find other helpful security and ITSM articles on topics such as security vulnerabilities, software updates, mobile devices, patch updates, patch management best practices, patch management software, security risks, attack surfaces, automated patch management, and access controls.

Gilad Maayan
CEO and Founder at Agile SEO

Gilad is a technology writer who has worked with over 150 technology companies including SAP, Oracle, Zend, CheckPoint and Ixia, producing technical and thought leadership content that elucidates technical solutions for developers and IT leadership.

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