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Keeping software up-to-date is a constant battle for businesses. With new vulnerabilities discovered daily, it’s crucial to prioritize patches effectively. This article explores factors to consider when deciding which software to patch first. 

Misconceptions About Vulnerability Count

Some judge software quality by the number of discovered vulnerabilities. More bugs don’t necessarily mean worse software; a popular program will naturally have more bugs identified. Conversely, an obscure program might have hidden vulnerabilities simply because no one has looked for them. 

The key metric is how quickly patches are released and their effectiveness. Frequent patching indicates a vendor’s commitment to security, while sporadic releases or a lack of transparency raise red flags. Look for vendors with bug bounty programs that encourage responsible vulnerability disclosure

Patching Priorities

Here’s a breakdown of software categories to prioritize for patching based on potential risk: 

  • Operating Systems (OS):  Operating system updates are a top priority. A compromised OS leaves your entire system vulnerable. For Windows users, prioritize installing updates released on the second Tuesday of each month (Patch Tuesday) and any additional critical updates released outside this schedule. 
  • Browsers:  Several factors make browsers high-risk. They’re heavily used, interact directly with the internet, and are a prime target for attackers. Install browser patches promptly and remember to restart your browser after updates to ensure the new, secure version is loaded. Update all browsers installed on your system, including Internet Explorer (still present on Windows machines) and browsers based on Chromium (like Electron apps that function as web apps). 
  • Office Suites:  Many cyberattacks involve malicious attachments in emails, particularly those targeting Microsoft Office or PDF documents. Patching office suites promptly is crucial to prevent these vulnerabilities from becoming entry points for attackers. Consider user training on information security and establish internal communication channels to raise awareness of email threats and encourage employees to report suspicious activity. 
  • Cybersecurity Solutions:  Security software vulnerabilities can be especially dangerous due to the high-level permissions these programs require. Security vendors typically release patches quickly to address vulnerabilities, so prioritize installing updates for your antivirus and other security solutions. 
  • Work Collaboration Apps:  Collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Confluence have become central to business communication. These platforms can expose sensitive information if compromised, so keeping them updated with the latest security patches is essential. Many collaboration tools are built on the Chromium framework, which inherits vulnerabilities from the Chromium browser. Consider this additional risk factor when prioritizing updates for collaboration apps. 

Remember: To further protect your systems while waiting for patches, use reliable security software across all corporate devices. Solutions like Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business and Kaspersky Hybrid Cloud Security Enterprise offer built-in vulnerability and patch management features. 

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