There is a lot of attention being paid to continuously updating servers to patch security vulnerabilities on Linux servers running in data centers — a basic step underpinning technology infrastructure in every industry. Yet, staff resources to deal with maintaining servers are not sufficient to meet the workload, said more than half (55%) of respondents in a worldwide survey by CloudLinux and its TuxCare security services.
The survey finds 76% are deploying automated patching procedures and that live patching to fix vulnerabilities is commonly used (47%) to avoid downtime that is normally associated with patching. This is not surprising given the volume of vulnerabilities that are discovered and patched every week. There are simply too many patches to apply to do so manually and information technology (IT) professionals are using automated tools to help keep up with the volume.
Yet, the survey found that manually researching vulnerabilities online is the most commonly used method (75%) in vulnerability management. It suggests that while automation has a place, some organizations have not fully embraced automation – and that automation may not cover all aspects of vulnerability management.
“There is no doubt that organizations of every size are struggling to keep their server fleets up to date in their efforts to patch security vulnerabilities,” said Jim Jackson, president and chief revenue officer, CloudLinux.
It was learned that nearly half (45%) said they cope with vulnerabilities simply by waiting for the next periodic maintenance window before applying patches. This means that during that period of time their servers remain vulnerable — a less than optimal situation.
A notable finding is that 73% of respondents rely on a single operating system in their server fleets suggesting that organizations value the ease of maintenance of using a single Linux distribution rather than utilizing specialized Linux distributions for different roles. Most commonly used were either CentOS or another CentOS fork.
Respondents were asked what features they would like to see in a patch management tool with the three most desired cited as: fast responses to new critical vulnerabilities and exposures (CVEs) (88%); live patching (75%); and automated comprehensive reporting (70%).
Results for the State of Enterprise Vulnerability Detection and Patch Management report were collected in the first quarter of 2021. So far, 106 respondents have completed an online survey that was publicly advertised to IT professionals working in enterprise companies around the globe, with 89% of the respondents directly involved in vulnerability management operations. The survey is still running to build on the number of responses in order to build a more complete picture of vulnerability and patch management in the enterprise.
To encourage more people to complete the survey, TuxCare is awarding 10 free Certified Kubernetes Administrator (CKA) certifications from The Linux Foundation to survey participants. To enter, complete the survey. To avoid spam submissions, only users with corporate email addresses can participate.
Anyone interested in the full report of initial results can download the State of Enterprise Vulnerability Detection and Patch Management here.
TuxCare services are the umbrella offering of the CloudLinux family of enterprise support services which include live patching for critical components in the Linux stack, from the kernel all the way to widely-used shared libraries. This eliminates the need for lengthy and costly service disruptions while servers or services are restarted to install the latest security patches, and no longer requires a disruptive maintenance window.
Also, with TuxCare Linux Support Services, regular patches and updates are delivered for all components of enterprise Linux systems, as well as 24/7 incident support – even when systems are past their End-of-Life (EOL).
CloudLinux is on a mission to continually increase security, stability and availability of Linux servers and devices. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, CloudLinux Inc. develops a hardened Linux distribution, Linux kernel live security patching, extended support options for Linux, and web server security software used by enterprises, service providers, governments, and universities all over the world.
CloudLinux has more than 4,000 customers and partners, more than 500,000 product installations globally, and dedicated analysts and developers that together have more than 450 years’ worth of Linux experience along with a passion for delivering the best customer care.