The IT world has been rocked by a number of recent vulnerabilities and security lapses. The Heartbleed bug, discovered in April in OpenSSL code. The sudden demise of TrueCrypt, an open-source encryption solution. A serious flaw in the widely used Internet Explorer browser, which caused the Department of Homeland Security’s Computer Readiness Team to release an unusual imperative, and Microsoft to issue an out-of-cycle security update. Each incident reinforces the need for more vigilant protection of computers, networks, and systems. The solution is simple: we need proactive IT maintenance and monitoring.
Case in Point: Internet Explorer
The recent Internet Explorer bug interested CMIT Solutions greatly. Not only were its consequences broadly reaching, but the vulnerability emphasized the importance of proactive IT management. After several days of delay and inaction, Microsoft finally issued the aforementioned out-of-cycle security update, which fixed the remote code execution vulnerability that was luring IE users to click on malicious links. Hackers could have then potentially been granted full control of individual PCs had Microsoft not responded.
Microsoft reported that only a limited number of targeted attacks had been identified, but still urged users of Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 to immediately install the patch. They even showed a little mercy for Windows XP users by pushing the update to the outdated OS as well. “When we saw the first reports about this vulnerability, we decided to fix it, fix it fast, and fix it for all of our customers,” said Adrienne Hall, general manger of Microsoft’s security unit.
So how was this fix implemented?
Microsoft instructed customers with enabled automatic updates that the Internet Explorer security patch would install automatically. Unfortunately, many computer users are wary of such programmed updates — and many don’t know how to verify that they’re turned on. This is where proactive IT maintenance and monitoring comes in! Round-the-clock services, like those provided by Continuum and CMIT Solutions, began deploying the Internet Explorer patch less than 12 hours after Microsoft issued it. For many clients, it was installed on their machines when they showed up to work the next morning. That’s the goal of proactive IT maintenance and monitoring: to fix problems before they happen, and without computer users stressing over whether to click “Yes” when prompted for an unfamiliar update or waiting for an internal IT resource to come by their desk and manually install it.
By Meaghan Moraes
By Lily Teplow