Earlier this month, word hit the airwaves that an exploit (2963983) of Internet Explorer had been discovered which could allow hackers the ability to gain access to your Windows computer. After a few days, Microsoft released a patch to fix the problem. They were generous enough to include a fix for Windows XP even though they have officially discontinued support for this operating system. So what can this teach us about network management?
First, it stresses the importance of patch (or update) management. What is patch management? It is the process of ensuring that all of your computers and servers receive updates when they are released. If you do not have someone actively managing your patches, you still may have machines that are vulnerable to this exploit. This could result in downtime, data loss, data theft, and more. Even though computers can be set to automatically update, often times they do not and it is critically important to have someone make sure all patches are approved and deployed.
Second, it stresses the importance of updating or replacing your equipment on a regular cycle or “tech refresh”. While Microsoft was kind enough to release the patch to fix the 2963983 exploit, what if they didn’t? Millions of computers would be vulnerable! It is unlikely that if such an exploit were to occur again that Microsoft would make another exception. One of the reasons for aviation's stellar safety record is that planes are proactively maintained. Fortunately for us, parts are replaced before they break down. Keep your technology up to date to avoid productivity loss, security breaches, and more.
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