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Seven best practices for managing software patches and updates

August 18, 2015

Managing patches and updates for your mission-critical business applications is far from easy, especially if you’re managing IT for a small business with limited staff and limited resources. After all, staying ahead of security threats alone is a full-time job for some people. The good news is there are some steps you can take simplify the process. For all you small business owners and IT pros out there, here are seven best practices for managing software patches and updates:

1. Stay current
Software vendors release updates for software regularly, and many of them relate to important security issues. Appoint someone – or yourself – to be in charge of staying on top of software updates and to check those vendors’ websites regularly. That person should also keep an eye on the newly emerging threats, such as new ransomware bugs and other computer viruses.

2. Get to know Microsoft’s update schedule
If yours is like most small businesses, chances are you use at least some Microsoft products. Microsoft releases major software updates on the second Tuesday of every month. Be sure not to wait too long to install the necessary updates after they are issued.

3. Keep up with regular maintenance tasks
Make sure someone is in charge of keeping software licenses up-to-date and keeping software current.

4. Develop relationships with key vendors
If you are heavily reliant on one or more software vendors try do a monthly or weekly call, or at the very least, stay in touch via email with your account manager. It’s always a good idea to have close relationships with your key operating system, network, and application vendors.

5. Create an inventory
Create a list of all your production systems. If necessary, do a search for commercial network scanners and automated discovery products that can help with this process. Then compare the list against any new security vulnerabilities that are reported and update as necessary.

6. Automate what you can
Automating everything you can automate will go a long way toward lessening your burden. For example, many software packages come with the option for automatic updates.

7. Back up everything you can
Make sure your critical data is backed up at all times. If anything goes wrong while updating or patching, you’ll be glad you did. Carbonite’s cloud and hybrid backup solutions can back up your data automatically, in the background, without you having to worry about it.

Read this SearchSecurity.com article for more tips on planning and applying patches and updates. Learn more about Carbonite’s cloud and hybrid backup solutions for small businesses.

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  • Tech tips