Well, that’s a good question. Let’s be honest, nobody is usually thrilled with system maintenance. Integration, deployment, and even management can be fun, but maintenance is often deemed the
“boring” task nobody wants to do.
Still, it is critical to the health and security of your IT infrastructure, and ultimately the whole organization.
A lack of proper maintenance does not only lead to poor performance, but, more importantly, potential security risks. This can occur if proper system security patching is not performed on a regular basis and/or when triggered by a vendor to remedy a recently discovered vulnerability.
Many of our everyday solutions have an entire ecosystem of servers interconnected and supported by a number of subsystems, built on platforms. These are all designed with security in mind, limiting direct connection from the internet per design, as devices need to be able to reach them from anywhere for both initial enrollment as well as later real-time management. This does not mean those systems are completely exposed to the wild as security is strengthened – with only a minimum number of ports available, certain types of connections allowed, strong authentication required, and specific transport protocols used to ensure only allowed devices can connect. But virtually this does still represent an increase of the attack surface that could potentially be exploited by malicious entities trying to gain access to your network.
Security is a cornerstone of any externally facing solution, but even they are not immune to potential security issues, as their software still relies on hundreds or thousands of other modules like web servers, encryption libraries, etc. that might be buggy or broken at some point or another.
A notable example of exploits due to non-patching is the Target security breach of 2013. Unpatched third-party vendor systems were able to be compromised and the credit cards of over 40 million customers were exposed. According to security journalist Brian Krebs, the attackers first broke into the retailer’s network using network credentials stolen from an HVAC systems provider. They succeeded in uploading their card-stealing malicious software to a small number of cash registers within Target stores to test that their point-of-sale malware was working as designed. Next, the intruders pushed their malware to a majority of Target’s point-of-sale devices and were actively collecting card records from live customer transactions.
At the end of the day, the goal is to create and maintain an ecosystem of solutions that allow your business to run efficiently no matter the location – corporate offices, on the road, or home offices. Let the ISEC7 team help; our end to end health and cyber security check will provide you with comprehensive recommendations ensuring your environment is ready to support your business and keep your data where it needs to be.
(C) Rémi Frédéric Keusseyan, Global Head of Training, ISEC7 Group