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February 5, 20244 min read

High Octane Insights for Patch Management


Precision, adaptability, and speed are paramount in the high-stakes world of Formula 1 racing. Drivers race at speeds of more than 220MPH to secure their wins, and teams manage complex racing technology, state of the art cars, and high-pressure scenarios. Just as F1 teams refine their cars for peak performance, strategize for every race, and prepare for the unexpected, effective patch management requires IT pros to automate, adapt, and accelerate to achieve success.   

As part Adaptiva’s recent Sales Kick Off event, our company had the pleasure of hearing from Gary Foote, CIO at Moneygram Haas F1 team. He shared how he manages technology in a high pressure setting at the intersection of speed, innovation, risk, and success.   

By drawing parallels from the world of F1 racing, we can learn valuable insights into how IT pros can optimize their patch management so that they too can be as nimble and fast as an F1 team. Here are five key principles from F1 that we can apply to patch management:

1. Strategic Adaptability: F1 teams must demonstrate remarkable adaptability managing evolving race conditions. While there are many variables’ teams can try to control, they know that each race and outcome is different. They create different plans and strategies and can adapt depending on the weather, competitors, and track conditions.

When it comes to patch management, IT teams must also be able to swiftly adapt to changing environments, threats, and business landscapes. Having access to real-time data gives IT pros the critical information they need to stay nimble while adaptable technology manages their endpoints according to their specific business requirements.

2. Performance Under Pressure: When race margins can come down to tenths or even hundredths of a second, performance and reliability are crucial. While F1 drivers are competing against their peers, IT pros have the added pressure of racing against looming cyberthreats that are trying to exploit vulnerabilities. Therefore, IT teams must ensure that their endpoint management and patching performance is not only proactive and reliable, but capable of controlled speed during critical security updates or large-scale deployments.  

3. Fortify Defenses Against Cyberthreats: F1 is no stranger to cyberthreats. Not only do F1 teams worry about attacks on their organizational infrastructure, the connected nature of their technology means their cars are also at risk. Teams also operate remotely at 24 different international race locations, with their endpoint devices and networks constantly on the move.  As such, F1 teams take no shortcuts when fortifying their IT defenses —otherwise they could be left off the grid.   
Meanwhile, cyberthreats don’t discriminate by industry, and thus IT teams at all types of enterprise organizations must proactively prioritize vulnerability remediation to protect their endpoints. The challenge is accomplishing this quickly at scale. With intelligent automation and predictive bandwidth harvesting, IT and security operations pros can manage vulnerabilities with controlled speed and ensure the integrity of the patching process without throttling their networks.

4. Data-Driven Decision Making: Anyone who has watched Netflix’s Drive to Survive knows that F1 teams rely heavily on real-time analysis with comprehensive dashboards and telemetry data across their pit walls.

Much like race-engineers making critical calls on the fly, IT pros must have data at their fingertips to stay nimble and make quick decisions and technology including automation and AI to be able to react fast.

“These tool sets will allow business to make better decisions, create efficiency, develop solutions or products and concentrate their human resource on areas that they can really add value, and, frankly, letting technology take care of some of the heavy lifting behind the scenes,” said Gary Foote. 

Likewise, when leveraging vulnerability intelligence to determine which lines of business need to be patched first, or viewing deployment wave progress to ensure testing success, patch management should be data-driven using real time analytics to assess risk and ensure vulnerabilities are addressed efficiently. 

5. Effective Incident Response and Preparedness: Most F1 teams have playbooks and well-rehearsed strategies for various race scenarios. While the pit crews practice rapid tire changes, the trackside IT support team prepares to handle any network outages on the pit wall. 
Similarly, IT and security teams must be ready to act fast if exposed to vulnerabilities—or even better—they are equipped to handle issues proactively. Intelligent patch automation ensures that patches are deployed automatically, according to specific business rules and vulnerabilities are remediated without manual effort. As a result, IT pros can spend time managing other critical issues without having to worry about patching — keeping them ready to tackle any incident. 

In many ways, the parallels between F1 and patch management are apparent: precision, adaptability and speed are all essential. However, unlike drivers who have a checkered flag and a trophy at the end of a race, there isn’t a finish line for IT pros who have an endless patching responsibility. The demand for rapid patching and vulnerability remediation at scale adds an extra layer of complexity to the race against cyberattacks. Automation can lead the way to enable IT pros to focus on strategic oversight and threat prevention versus manual tasks like patching. 

As Foote said, “The biggest kind of lesson that that people can pull from Formula 1 and apply into global business IT departments is really trusting technology to be an enabler for business.”



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