Why bother with software patches?

software patch

Why bother software patches? Why take that precious time out of your business day to update your technology?

In 2003 I worked for a large multinational company providing tech support for their western region. That summer Microsoft released a patch for server and regular operating systems. The senior IT gentleman decided that the company didn’t need this security patch because hey! they have a great corporate edition antivirus product on all the computers.

Well he didn’t tell the tech support outside of Toronto not to patch. Even back then I regularly patched all the computers in the office. Before I worked for the big multinational I had run into a situation where having patched promptly would have prevented a nasty virus from getting on a work computer. So I patched. And the guy on the eastern seaboard patched.

Early August Microsoft and several U.S. cybersecurity authorities released news that this security flaw (that the patch fixed) was being exploited and companies needed to patch.

August 1th and the Blaster virus devastates all unpatched Windows computers. The company lost thousands of dollars because most of the computers were down or severely crippled and they couldn’t make their commitments. Most of the computers except the ones I had patched and the guy on the eastern seaboard had patched.

Still the head IT guy didn’t want to patch. His attitude was that the expensive corporate antivirus would release an update blocking the virus and that would be it. The corporate antivirus did release an update but…

August 13th two new worms exploiting the same security hole are attacking computers. And then August 18th, Welchia worm hit the network. It attacked also attacked the same security hole. All the unpatched computers needed to be dewormed again.

So we had almost two weeks of Worm hell with most of the offices being disrupted and the company losing money because one patch was not installed.

So before you say I don’t have time to patch, I don’t want to change my setup because it’s working anyway, or I have antivirus I don’t have to worry, think again. An ounce of patching is way cheaper than a pound of pwning.