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Implementing third-party patches on customer systems

Sometimes third parties release patches to critical vulnerabilities before the developers of the flawed software. But are these patches safe for your customers' systems? Find out here.

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Is it safe to implement a third-party patch on a customer's Windows system for a critical vulnerability that Microsoft is slow to patch?

Yes, it is feasible to implement a third-party patch on a Windows system. However, several important steps should be followed to ensure the patch does not have an ill effect on the system. These steps include, at a minimum:

  • Obtain the patch through a secure manner (for example, SHA-1).
  • Complete the appropriate testing before proceeding to implement the patch.
  • Have a well-defined and documented back-out plan in the event the patch does not install correctly or causes issues with the systems or applications.
  • Provide proper communication to all those involved with the systems being patched, both the end users and administrators.
  • Install the patch on less critical systems first, to ensure no issues, then install on more critical sytems.

If these steps are followed, at a minimum, then the risk of installing a third-party patch is mitigated.

This was first published in October 2006

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