1) For Windows hosts, try a backup or at least a System Restore Point before installing any updates. This will allow you to roll back the registry and changes in case of undesirable results.
2) If possible, use a tool that can harden a host from undesirable changes that may occur from an authorized change. Many times updates fail and break solutions because malware or an unauthorized change has occurred that disrupted the accepted configuration.
3) Before any major patch release, such as a Service Pack, find a way to test the update. If you do not have a lab, virtualize the server using tools like VMWare P2V so that at least a dry run of the installation can be performed.
4) Try to adhere to a patching schedule. Make it a point to only apply patches on a predefined time and date verses “panic patching”. This will allow you to gauge whether an update really caused an issue verses tracking down a problem for an unknown reason.
5) Finally, do a little homework on the patch or let someone do the work for you. Webinars like the VEF (Vulnerability Expert Forum) are a great way to learn about new patches and what they will actually do to your system once applied.Protecting your devices from incompatible updates is just as important as protecting them from malware and vulnerabilities. Not much will ever stop the Blendtec Blender but reasonable precautions and adopting basic best practices will help protect the system from patches that may have software and hardware incompatibilities and affect the basic operations and business functions the system is designed to perform.
Morey J. Haber, Chief Security Officer, BeyondTrust
Morey J. Haber is the Chief Security Officer at BeyondTrust. He has more than 25 years of IT industry experience and has authored three books: Privileged Attack Vectors, Asset Attack Vectors, and Identity Attack Vectors. He is a founding member of the industry group Transparency in Cyber, and in 2020 was elected to the Identity Defined Security Alliance (IDSA) Executive Advisory Board. Morey currently oversees BeyondTrust security and governance for corporate and cloud based solutions and regularly consults for global periodicals and media. He originally joined BeyondTrust in 2012 as a part of the eEye Digital Security acquisition where he served as a Product Owner and Solutions Engineer since 2004. Prior to eEye, he was Beta Development Manager for Computer Associates, Inc. He began his career as Reliability and Maintainability Engineer for a government contractor building flight and training simulators. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Stony Brook.