Patching - Frustrations and Performance

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Patches.  Software updates.  Unwanted reboots.  Slowness.

Why do you get them??!!

The simple answer is security.

Vulnerabilities in software are found all of the time. Once found the software company release a patch to fix or stop the vulnerability being exploited. Microsoft release patches all of the time (284 in January 2018 alone). Not all of these are critical, but a lot are. Therefore, we apply them to your PCs, Laptops and Servers.

The challenge that we all face is that we do not know how big a patch is - neither do we have any control over this. Microsoft (and other vendors) release the patches as soon as they are available. Our Patch Management solution will then deploy them to your machine as soon as possible to ensure that you are as protected as you can be. The bigger the patch the longer it will take to install - and recently Microsoft have released some very large patches. These take time to download and install - they may also require several reboots.

You may have heard of the latest chip flaws in Intel, ARM and AMD processor chips (known as “Spectre” and “Meltdown”). These bugs affect almost all modern processors. The flaws break down the walls between apps, which can let one application access information stored in another application’s memory. The result: exposure of sensitive data on desktops, laptops, mobile devices, and cloud networks.

In order to protect against the latest vulnerabilities there are a range of updates that are required; from BIOS updates (where available), large Microsoft Updates and Anti-Virus updates. All of these updates are large, cumbersome and can be disruptive – but they are necessary. There is also the possibility that following the updates your system will run slower (this is speculation from the chip manufacturers – and we are yet to see it manifest, but due to the changes they are having to make to the way the processors work it is a distinct possibility).

It is likely that your PC / Laptop will run slower when installing these updates – there is nothing you can do to help this. Other than, leave your machine on and give it time to install (and reboot if it needs to). We are hopeful that with the large series of large updates out of the way that the patching volume and size will return to normal levels. Fingers crossed!

It is worth stating that we have already patched all of our platform – so clients who are running on our Infrastructure as a Services (IaaS) platform are protected from Spectre and Meltdown already.