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February 20, 20245 min read

Accelerate Critical Updates and Control Patching Automation with Deployment Bots (Clone)

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In a digital age where cybercrime costs are forecasted to hit $9.5 trillion in 2024, the urgency for advanced patch management solutions is paramount. The evolution of both preventative measures and exploitation techniques demands a sophisticated approach to IT management, especially in securing endpoints in increasingly remote work environments. This article explores the cutting-edge technology of risk-based prioritization in OneSite Patch and how Deployment Bots automate patch deployments, when rapid adaptation and proactive measures are the keys to security.

The Expanding Cybersecurity Challenge 

The cybersecurity landscape is undergoing a rapid and complex evolution. Remote work and the advancement of AI technology has expanded the traditional perimeter of IT security and introduced new vulnerabilities. Endpoints, such as home-based workstations, often rely on less secure networks, making them prime targets for sophisticated cyber-attacks. This environment is further complicated by the advent of new exploitation techniques, including advanced ransomware and phishing attacks. As a result, organizations are facing an uphill battle in securing their digital assets. The frequency of these attacks is alarming, with nearly three-quarters of organizations experiencing some form of ransomware attack in 2023 alone. This trend highlights the critical need for more dynamic and intelligent patch management solutions that can adapt quickly to these evolving threats and mitigate risks effectively. The challenge is not just about keeping up with the attackers but staying ahead of them in an environment where the rules and tools of engagement are constantly changing. 

The Necessity of Automated Patch Management 

Regular patching is crucial in combating vulnerabilities. The U.S. Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has noted:  

“Malicious cyber actors generally have the most success exploiting known vulnerabilities within the first two years of public disclosure—the value of such vulnerabilities gradually decreases as software is patched or upgraded. Timely patching reduces the effectiveness of known, exploitable vulnerabilities, possibly decreasing the pace of malicious cyber actor operations and forcing pursuit of more costly and time-consuming methods” 

This highlights the importance of ensuring systems are updated regularly and kept up to date with the latest patches. However, the frequency and complexity of updates released by vendors like Microsoft and other third parties present a significant challenge. The traditional approach of manual patching is becoming increasingly untenable due to the sheer volume of updates and the speed at which they need to be deployed to prevent exploitation. This is where automated patch management becomes essential. By automating the process, organizations can ensure that critical security patches are applied promptly and consistently, mitigating the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited. Automated patch management is not just a matter of convenience; it's a strategic necessity in an environment where the window between the release of a patch and the exploitation of a vulnerability is rapidly shrinking.  

The Complexity of Patch Management 

Patch management is a complex challenge that goes beyond simply applying updates. Each patch comes with its own set of characteristics that must be carefully evaluated and managed. For instance, a patch's criticality or severity level may vary, with some requiring immediate action due to high security risks, while other medium or low severity updates are less urgent. Additionally, certain patches may necessitate system reboots, disrupting regular operations, especially in the case of servers or critical infrastructure. This complexity is compounded when considering the diverse range of software and hardware within an organization, each with its unique patching requirements and compatibility issues. The intricate nature of these variables makes a one-size-fits-all approach to patch management ineffective. Instead, a nuanced, flexible system is requiredone that can accurately assess and categorize patches, efficiently schedule deployments based on urgency and impact, and adapt to the specific needs of various systems.  

Deployment Bots Bridge The Gap 

OneSite Patch’s Deployment Bots function in a manner similar to a hospital's emergency room triage team. In this analogy, each patch is like a patient, each with unique characteristics and urgency levels. Just as a triage team quickly assesses and categorizes patients based on their condition to determine the priority of medical attention, the Deployment Bots evaluate patches for their criticality, exploitation risk, and other properties. This smart assessment ensures that critical patches, much like critical patients, are treated promptly, while less urgent ones are scheduled appropriately, maintaining operational stability. This intelligent, dynamic approach allows for a tailored, efficient, and responsive patch deployment process, reflecting a balance between rapid response to imminent security threats and the operational realities of diverse IT environments. 

Accelerating Deployments for Critical Patches 

When deploying a patch management strategy using Deployment Bots in OneSite Patch, consider this practical example.  

To filter patches and expedite the deployment of urgent patches, three distinct Patch Deployment Bots are created for risk-based prioritization, each configured to manage updates based on their criticality and risk of exploitation. For example, patches identified as critical or with known vulnerabilities are set for immediate deployment upon their release. Updates deemed high in severity are scheduled for weekly deployment, while those of low or medium severity are aligned with a more flexible timeline, such as Microsoft's Patch Tuesday. These Deployment Bots, once integrated into the Patching Strategy object, will automatically apply these schedules to any application assigned to this strategy.  

Such an approach ensures a streamlined and responsive patch management process, dynamically adapting to each update's urgency level and maintaining robust security without compromising operational efficiency.  

Whenever a new patch is released for any product assigned to that strategy, it will get automatically routed appropriately to its criticality, and deployed according to the respective timeframes. 

The Adaptability of Deployment Bots 

To better understand how Adaptiva’s Deployment Bots revolutionize patch management, let’s look at their key functionalities: 

  • Intelligent Assessment: Each patch is analyzed for criticality, exploitation risk, or any other desired attribute
  • Automated Categorization: Patches are sorted into categories based on these classifications
  • Customized Deployment Schedules: Patch deployment is aligned with operational requirements, ranging from immediate releases to scheduled updates
  • Operational Flexibility: The bots adapt to the specific requirements of different systems within the IT infrastructure
  • Reduced Manual Workload: By automating repetitive tasks, IT staff are freed up to focus on more strategic initiatives
  • Enhanced Security Posture: Timely application of critical security patches minimizes vulnerability risks 
Increase Patching Speed When It Really Matters 

In conclusion, the risk-based prioritization with Deployment Bots in OneSite Patch represents a significant stride forward in the realm of cybersecurity. In an environment where cyber threats are escalating both in sophistication and frequency, and where the financial and operational stakes are higher than ever, these bots offer a strategic and efficient solution. The rise in cybercrime costs and the increasing investment in cybersecurity technologies highlight the urgency for advanced solutions like OneSite Patch’s risk-based prioritization. By intelligently automating the patch deployment process, these bots not only enhance security but also bring efficiency and adaptability to IT operations.  

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