OS Patching: Key to Stopping Meltdown, Spectre, and Other Vulnerabilities in Their Tracks

 Wednesday 21 February, 2018

Attacks such as the recent Meltdown and Spectre target system flaws – even ones for which patches exist. In fact, Intel and Microsoft have both issued fixes for these CPU-based vulnerabilities.

In the case of Meltdown and Spectre, the attacks are against the CPU, but the fixes are largely to the OS. Many exploits work this way, which is why OS patching is so critical to overall security.

Getting these fixes installed is the tough part. One solution is automation, where the RMM identifies and installs the patches as they come available.

“The time between the discovery of an operating system or application vulnerability and the emergence of an exploit is getting shorter, sometimes only a matter of hours,” According to the white paper A Practical Methodology for Implementing a Patch management Process from the SANs Institute. “Keeping current with hotfixes and updates can be a daunting task. It is important to be able to quickly evaluate which updates are critical, which ones are merely useful and which ones are unnecessary. An automated tool makes this job a little easier by either maintaining a database of monitored systems and their patch status or scanning them on demand.”

However, exploits can come quickly, and when the patch arrives you may need an emergency installation. IT and service provider techs are not always sitting at a desktop console, or in front of a laptop. During such an emergency, they could be at the pub, nursing a cold one (off hours of course). Here a mobile RMM running on a smartphone is all it takes to block the exploit.

Meanwhile, an RMM approach is critical in today’s dispersed IT environments. “Remote workstations are the bane of most administrators. Keeping them current with anti-virus software is enough of a challenge without adding security updates to the mix,” SANs said.

The Pulseway Answer

New Pulseway OS Patch Management capabilities increase the response time to Spectre and Meltdown-like security concerns by making sure OS patches are immediately pushed to end users and installed. Using Pulseway, IT admins receive immediate alerts on their mobile devices about critical IT system issues that can lead to system failures or security breaches. When OS patches addressing these issues are released, IT admins can quickly prioritize, schedule, and install patches on network devices remotely with Pulseway from any mobile device.

“Patch management is one of the most critical and complex processes managed by IT,” said Marius Mihalec, CEO and founder of Pulseway. “The sheer volume of patches combined with the growing number of endpoints that IT is responsible for makes patch management a tremendous undertaking. While some patches are less of a priority, others that address significant security concerns need to be installed immediately to safeguard organizations against cyberattacks. With Pulseway, IT departments can now manage this process seamlessly and remotely - anytime, anyplace - to take corrective action before clients are impacted.”

Check out the Pulseway OS patch management video explainer here .

Pulseway Partners

In other news, Pulseway boosted its partner ecosystem with new integrations with CustomerThermometer and QuoteWerks , enhancing Pulseway’s professional services automation (PSA) solution.

Pulseway customers can now embed CustomerThermometer feedback buttons into Pulseway PSA tickets, easily prompting customers for feedback on ticket resolutions. Customers can quickly collect feedback with higher response rates due the simple, 1-click, convenient user interface. Additionally, customers can view ratings and feedback directly within tickets as well as within their Customer Thermometer account, analyze feedback trends via their Customer Thermometer reporting dashboards, and create feedback reporting directly within Pulseway PSA.

With the integration of Pulseway PSA and QuoteWerks, a sales quoting, estimating, and proposal software solution, customers can create and deliver more accurate sales quotes to prospective clients. QuoteWerks can now retrieve contacts from Pulseway PSA, search Pulseway PSA products, create and update sales opportunities, and produce customer proposals all within QuoteWerks.

For more information on Pulseway OS patch management and the latest integrations to Pulseway PSA visit, www.pulseway.com.

You can also check out this YouTube video or this mini-tutorial .

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