The holiday season is a popular time for cybercriminals to host attacks again business computer systems.  With employees distracted with more important things and holiday media circulated freely cybercriminals are often given free reign to cause disruption and damage.  Patching system vulnerabilities is a low cost solution that can save a business thousands of dollars in damages in the long term.

The number of reported vulnerabilities has been on the rise for the last few years and reached over 3000 reported cases in 2008. With the high dependence of business computer servers the increase in vulnerability should not be a surprise. What is a surprise is that most businesses do not take the steps to protect their system infrastructure.

Patches are typically released shortly after a system vulnerability is found but often go unnoticed by the majority of users. The problem is that the patch process is often considered too complex, time consuming or not important enough to system administrators. Additionally, many feel reluctant to apply server patches because of the chance that they will respond poorly with a systems current hardware configuration. For these reasons it is ideal to have a system in place for periodical system backup and patching.

The importance of patching is made most apparent by the amount of damage that can be caused by the failure to do so. An exposed vulnerability to a single computer system can reveal information about all aspects of your business and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost information. If an intrusion attempt is made to your server then this loss or damage is multiplied by the number of connected systems and the costs grows geometrically. Suddenly, the minimal cost of a patching solution doesn’t seem as great.

The capabilities of system intruders are increasingly sophisticated and at the same time easier to obtain. In most cases an attack will be made to target a single vulnerability. For this reason system intruders monitor security breach announcements diligently and once one is revealed, attempt to replicate it. This is why ITCSNY recommends the installation of Critical Updates (Patches) shortly after their release to assure optimum security, uptime and performance.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Design and Optimization Department