Using MSP to Beat Zero Day Exploits
One of the scariest scenarios facing today’s IT administrator is something known as a “Zero day” exploit.
A “Zero Day” vulnerability is one in which a previously unknown flaw has been identified in an application or operating system and the vendor has had zero days to provide a patch closing the security flaw. Once identified the vendor of the software will quickly write code and provide a patch which closes the exploit.
It is the period between the creation of this patch and the application to client machines which places your business at the greatest risk.
In a traditional network infrastructure we have found that machines, be they servers or workstations, often go for long periods without the application of essential security patches and updates.
Why the long periods?
The primary reasons for this are:
- lack of internal process to apply patches
- requirement for downtime window, and
- lack of knowledge that the exploit and its patch exist.
An MSP quickly and easily solves for all three of these issues.
How can an MSP help?
Let’s examine how an MSP resolves these concerns.
A) Lack of internal process to apply patches
Server and workstation updating does require an infrastructure and technical comfort level which is sometimes out of reach to smaller firms. The tools required to automatically download and distribute patches do require care and feeding and mandate at least a cursory overview of patches prior to their application. To the average administrator this can often represent one hat too many and end points can go unpatched for extended periods of time.
An MSP will remove the requirement for the involvement of this internal resource and place a well-established, repeatable and drama free framework around this monthly process.
B) Requirement for downtime window
It is a sad fact of life that the application of patches will always involve the rebooting of the device to which the patch was applied. In today’s always-on business environment, your billable resources are extremely resistant to downtime during anything that could closely resemble “normal business hours”. This desire to avoid downtime, obviously, sets up a real tension for the overworked administrator. Very few of us want to be up patching servers and workstations at 1am on a Sunday morning, but often that is the only option we have.
Here again the MSP is an invaluable resource.
By offloading the requirement to stay up and patch, the firm’s infrastructure is far more likely to remain up-to-date, healthy, and secure.
C) Lack of knowledge that the exploit and its patch exist
Being a firm administrator is a full time job. Staying current on all the latest vulnerabilities and their fixes is well beyond the capability of most admins. This is further compounded by the fact that as an admin you only have exposure to one environment, yours. What if the fix you apply breaks something else, what if it is difficult to apply, what if it requires the application of patches in a defined order?
An MSP is the answer
By partnering with an MSP you can remove all of these as points of concern.
Your MSP will have internal resources keeping up to date on the latest vulnerabilities, their impacts, and required remediation.
They will also have a base of clients wide enough to have identified and corrected for any unintended consequences created by the application of the patch.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, partnering with an MSP can be a very powerful tool in securing firm data and moving your IT budget away from “buying downtime”.
To learn more about MSP solutions provided by Adapative Solutions, click here.