In search of the IT patch master

Thursday, 15 May 2003, 11:13 AM EST

IT organizations have a new scalability problem to deal with, and it has nothing to do with network performance or how many servers it takes to run an application. It has everything to do with system security and how system administrators can protect against software vulnerabilities. The scalability issue is the question of how to deal with the hundreds of software patches issued every month to fix software bugs or plug security holes that may be exploited later by hackers.

Administrators are inundated, and with IT budgets restrained by the economic downturn, they cannot simply throw people at the problem in hopes of stemming the tide. So how are network administrators handling the patching challenge? And who is shouldering the responsibility of taking the myriad steps required to apply a band-aid to broken software? It is a dilemma for which there is no easy solution.

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