Why is Virtual Patching Important?

virtual patching

Why is Virtual Patching Important?

  • The source code cannot be fixed by the client/ customer; developers must fix the code. This is the case when coding is outsourced, or the organization is using third-party software or service.
  • The vendor may not immediately have a patch or an update when the vulnerability is disclosed and may take longer to officially release it.
  • Not all vulnerabilities can be fixed owing to budgetary and financial constraints. There are an umpteen number of vulnerabilities and fixing all of them would be a big financial burden. So, organizations tend to prioritize and fix the critical and high-risk vulnerabilities first.
  • The organization could be using a legacy code or a product whose vendor is out of business, which translates into no fixes or patches. Upgrading/ migrating from legacy systems or applications may be a costly and time taking process and organizations cannot afford the disruptions resulting from such a process.

Other Benefits of Virtual Patching:

  • Organizations do not have to face downtimes and can have their mission-critical components online while they develop a fix or a permanent patch.
  • It is scalable as it does not have to be installed on all hosts and can be implemented from a few locations.
  • In the case of low-risk vulnerabilities, it saves time, money, and effort spent by the organization.
  • It helps organizations to maintain normal patching cycles.
  • It provides a footprint of an attacker intent and could be a data point to further improve defense posture for the future (block the user permanently, block the IP)

Why Is It Not Enough Alone, By Itself?

  • Virtual patching is a temporary, quick-fix, and external setup, not an actual fix. It does not fix the underlying flaw/ misconfiguration/ coding error. It only averts the immediate crisis, giving time to the developers to fix the vulnerabilities.
  • Virtual patching addresses only some of the ways in which the vulnerability can be exploited, it may not be securing all the entry points.

Conclusion

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