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GFI Security reports poor patch management causing 50% of IT failures

In addition, says the security firm, more than half of all respondents to the survey do not have any form of rigid IT policy relating to how and when software updates should be deployed.

The research - which took in responses from 256 senior IT decision makers across the UK - found that 90% of those surveyed were applying patches within the first two weeks after they are released.

However, for many the process remains a manual one, with 45% not using a dedicated patch management solution to distribute and manage software updates.

This lack of automation, GFI asserts, is a major contributing factor that explains why 72% of surveyed decision makers do not deploy a patch within 24 hours after it is released to the public.

Delving into the research reveals that the legal (43%) and healthcare (40%) sectors struggle the most with recurring IT problems caused by bad patches

In addition, 29% of the survey group consider security to be the most important benefit of prompt software patching, whilst improved productivity within the IT department, added security and compliance are the main drivers for investment in patch management solutions.

Commenting on the figures, Cristian Florian, GFI's product manager, said that they reinforce the importance of testing patches before deploying them in a production environment.

"Patch management solutions help keep the balance between maintaining productivity - testing patches to make sure they do not interfere with the business environment - and applying security patches in a timely fashion to avoid compromising security", he explained.