Cyber Essentials - Patch Management

Cyber Essentials is a UK government-backed certification scheme that aims to help organizations protect themselves against common cyber threats, and one of the key controls it addresses is patch management.

To meet the Cyber Essentials control for patch management, organizations need to implement certain security controls and practices to ensure that their systems are protected against known vulnerabilities. Here are some steps that organizations can take to meet the Cyber Essentials control for patch management:

  1. Identify vulnerable software: The first step in patch management is to identify the software installed on systems, including operating systems, web browsers, and third-party applications. This will help you to identify which software is at risk of vulnerabilities and needs to be patched.
  2. Set up a patch management process: Once you have identified the software that needs to be patched, you should set up a patch management process that includes regular checks for available patches, testing of patches, and deploying patches in a timely manner. This should include testing the patches on a small group of systems, before rolling out to all systems.
  3. Prioritize patches: Not all patches are equally important, and it's important to prioritize the deployment of patches based on the risk of the vulnerability. This includes prioritizing patches for critical vulnerabilities that are being actively exploited.
  4. Automate patch management: Automating the process of patch management can help to ensure that patches are deployed in a timely manner and that systems are protected against known vulnerabilities.
  5. Monitor and review: Regularly monitor systems for signs of vulnerabilities, and review patch management procedures to ensure that they are effective. This includes monitoring for new vulnerabilities and patches, and making changes as necessary to improve the patch management process.
  6. Train your staff: Train your staff about the importance of patch management and the role they play in keeping systems up-to-date and secure.

By implementing these controls and practices, organizations can meet the Cyber Essentials control for patch management and reduce the risk of known vulnerabilities. Organizations should also have a clear incident management process in place to address any vulnerabilities that cannot be patched, to minimize the risk of a successful attack.

It's also important to note that patch management is an ongoing process, software vendors release new patches regularly, and new vulnerabilities are discovered, so it's important to keep systems updated and monitored in the long-term.