Limiting Vulnerability Exposure Through Effective Patch Management

This paper aims to provide a complete discussion on vulnerability and patch management. It looks first at the trends relating to vulnerabilities, exploits, attacks and patches. These trends provide the drivers of patch and vulnerability management. Understanding these allows the following chapters to present both policy and technical solutions to the problem.

The policy lays out a comprehensive set of steps that can be followed by any organisation to implement their own patch management policy, including practical advice on integration with other policies, managing risk, strategies for reducing downtime and vulnerability and generating patch metrics. It then discusses how best a vendors should implement a related patch release policy that will allow end-users to most effectively and timeously mitigate vulnerabilities. The next chapter discussed the technical aspect of automating parts of such a policy and how defence in depth can be applied to the field of patch management.

The document then concludes that patch management is becoming more difficult and the guidelines described will go a long way into creating a workable and effective means for mitigating exposure to vulnerabilities. However, more research is needed into vulnerabilities, exploits and particularly into threats.

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