A patch management plan organizes the process of acquiring, testing and installing all the code updates necessary to protect your software systems from attack. Because software companies want to ensure customers have the best possible experience with their products, patches are released on a fairly consistent basis. Patches relating directly to known vulnerabilities should be available within 30 days of a problem becoming known, and the most responsive companies make updates available the same day.
Failing to patch programs or holding onto legacy systems no longer supported by their companies of origin puts your business at risk for a data breach. When security is compromised, you’re likely to be out of compliance with the major regulations for your industry. Compliance is essential if you want to protect the information your customers and clients share with you, avoid costly breaches and not be subject to the hefty penalties imposed by regulators of data security laws.
Software Vulnerability & Asset Management solutions like Flexera, empower a company’s IT security and IT Operations to intelligently track, identify and remediate breaches and vulnerability gaps, while also ensuring compliance
The following four verticals are subject to different collections of regulations aimed at protecting the unique types of data handled by companies operating within related industries.
Organizations providing healthcare services are required to comply with:
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH)
- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) if credit card information is handled
- GDPR, if applicable
Electronic health records (EHRs) are particularly sensitive to compromise, as are medical devices relying on technology to collect and transmit information. Hackers consider the health data collected and stored by these devices and systems to be of high value, making it imperative for all healthcare organizations to adopt strong policies to ensure compliance.
If your company provides financial products and services, you must comply with:
- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)
- Base II
These regulations require you to give all customers an explanation of how their information is shared and to put safeguards in place to protect sensitive data. Companies doing business on an international level must take steps to protect against fraud. This is especially important in light of the potential impact of insider breaches in financial institutions. Insider threats may put personal information at risk if unscrupulous employees partner with hackers to exploit a system for personal profit.
Third-party attacks attempting to gain access to financial data are also a threat to companies in this industry. These may include traditional credit card fraud schemes or the use of malware to hack ATMs. In addition, any partnerships between various financial organizations can introduce new weaknesses if partners aren’t diligent with their own security measures.
PCI DSS is the most prominent regulation in the commercial sector. Selling products and services means collecting credit card information and personal data from a large number of people on a daily basis and storing this information for future reference and use. Customers willingly share their data in exchange for what vendors sell with the expectation that it will be safe from attacks by malicious third parties.
GDPR is a major consideration for commercial businesses operating on a global scale, especially e-commerce companies. This regulation affects consumers’ control over what types of personal data are collected, how this data is shared and the removal of data in response to a request.
Commercial companies have to deal with the potential for hacks not only on their own systems but also the systems of third-party service providers, including cloud services like CMS, CRM, backups and storage. Since you can’t control whether the companies handling these services stay compliant with regulations, it’s up to you to put a comprehensive security plan in place to protect against all potential breaches.
When Kohl’s needed to implement this type of plan, Flexera provided solutions to help the company to gain a better understanding of vulnerabilities within its software platforms, improve the implementation and utilization of software and create a better patch management system to remediate potential threats.
Depending on the age groups served and level of education provided, institutions providing academic instruction may be required to comply with one or more of the following:
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
- The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)
- The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)
These regulations protect educational records of students of all ages, control the collection from and use of the personal information of children under 13, secure financial data and ensure the safety of student health records. FISMA applies mostly in higher education where research is conducted using government funds.
One of the biggest security concerns on modern campuses is the increasing use of mobile devices by students and faculty. Compromised devices can introduce malware into the network and create “open doors” for hackers. Accidental or deliberate theft of information can occur more easily, putting students, staff and intellectual property at risk.
Administrative systems and computers connected to on-campus networks also represent areas of vulnerability. These systems often rely on third-party applications, as was the case at the Auckland University of Technology, and can be subject to weaknesses within these programs. Flexera’s solutions made it possible for the school to discover and remediate vulnerabilities with smart third-party patching solutions.