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Re: When is a Security patch not a patch?
From: TrueNorth Satellite Communications <mdisley () host igs net>
Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 13:42:55 -0500

Exactly. The sysadmins here seem to think that since I'm the one identifying (read dreaming up) these vulnerabilities and by extension the need for a subsequent patch, that I should be responsible for applying them. I've been trying to make the case that what we really need, is a comprehensive "patch management policy" which includes provisions for out of cycle, i.e. security patches.

Steve Wilson also commented that for security dudes to be doing patches, it negates any credibility with regard to compliance, or in other words; " the fox guarding the hen house".

Cheers,
Mark

Jason P. Rusch wrote:
I seem to have the same issue. Management and more specifically the
sysadmins seem to believe that since allot of the patches are security
in nature, that now patch management falls under the responsibility of
the security administrator. First off coming from the sysadmin ranks I
would think most admins would prefer to patch their own systems for may
reasons I don't think I need to state and second do they really think we
have the time or expertise to deal with potential issues related with
patching some systems.
Starting 2 months ago I indicated to the admins (this was approved my
management) through a new defined and formal MIS corporate policy, that
sysadmins would need to take ownership of the patch management process
and that I would oversee the program including quarterly vulnerability
assessments. I even took patch ownership of 1/4 of our servers (30
servers out of 100).

My situation is also ad-hoc practice as far as patch management goes,
but what amazes me isn't that fact the admins seem to think its my
responsibility to patch their systems, but that since I have stopped
patching the vast majority of them, in most cases the admins not only
are not patching their servers, but they don't seem to care.
I have never worked with admins that have such a lack of motivation when
it comes to patch management.
Basically it bowls down to how much weight MIS management is willing to
put behind it.


On Thu, 2007-03-01 at 17:22 +0000, solutions () truenorthsatcomm ca wrote:
Greetings,
I have a dilemma. I'm the IT Security dude. I'm responsible for filtering incoming security information (CERT announcements, vendor security patches, real threats, etc.) and doing an impact analysis on them. Since our organization is very structured i.e. ITIL I then send my report to our Service Delivery team who is responsible for the hands on sysadmin.
So my dilemma is this.  Management is now rethinking this approach (since the Service delivery folks are quite busy) 
and is expecting me to apply patches.  My argument is that;
a) No one person can have the detailed knowledge of all the OS's we support (basically all OS's) to
be able to do this and;
b) That a security patch is just another patch, albeit more urgent than patches applied during the regular patch cycle.

To be frank, there is no patch management procedure in place at all. Patches are applied in an adhoc "as needed" basis.
So what to do? Can anyone offer any insight?

Please and Thanks,
Mark

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