Patch management; Windows Update for network security

It is one thing to create a Microsoft network that is secure at its inception, but it is another thing to be able to update that network against new emerging Windows security threats. According to Windows security expert Jonathan Hassell, patch management best practices and staying up to speed with Windows Update are of the utmost importance for Windows network security.

Question: I'm trying to figure out how to set up a network in my small company. What should I know about Windows hardening that will allow for solid Windows network security in my new network?
- Posed by a SearchWindowsSecurity.com reader.

Windows security expert Jonathan Hassell offers this advice:

Answer: I think a lot of new administrators, or at least administrators opening doors in new environments, overlook the importance of patch management and Windows Update management from the beginning. Of course you want to harden Windows systems against unknown threats, but you also need to keep the items you're guarding completely up to date against the potential vulnerabilities inherent in software.

There are two demons here: In smaller companies, the small number of systems means that it's easy to forget to update; but in larger companies, the need for an automated patch management and deployment system can shift patching down on the priority list.

There is always something more glamorous to do than visiting

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Windows Update, but after your basic network security is covered, there's very little that is more important.

Read Windows security threats expert Kevin Beaver's thoughts on how to set up a network for a small company.

This was first published in August 2007

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