Latest Microsoft Updates Show Importance of Patch Testing
In early March 2021, Microsoft published some cumulative updates for different versions of Windows 10, including KB5000802. Unfortunately, the new updates and patches caused a variety of problems, including workstation crashes when printing, problems opening emails in Outlook, and some vendor products, such as Fiserv’s Navigator, not displaying correctly.
As a result, many people could not use printers from several popular brands such as Kyocera and Ricoh, and the new patches caused some users to experience the dreaded “Blue Screen of Death” (BSoD) when they clicked on the “print” option in some apps. Ultimately, Microsoft addressed the issue and rolled out a fix for the printer problems.
Importance of Patch Testing
The problems associated with Windows 10 KB5000802 serve as effective real-world reminders of the importance of patch testing as these issues could have been avoided by implementing proper testing procedures. Vendors are constantly releasing patches to correct software problems, improve performance and enhance security. But as the recent Microsoft incident clearly shows, patches can sometimes trigger new problems while trying to address existing ones.
All of this demonstrates why it is so important for banks and credit unions to test patches before installing them. Ideally, financial institutions should create a test group of the different kinds of machines and applications used in their environment and then apply any newly released patches to the elements in the group. Besides being a pragmatic approach, utilizing a test group also adheres to guidelines of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC), and it helps effectively protect institutions from downtime, security breaches, and IT issues.
Value of a Third-Party with Financial Industry Expertise Managing Patches
The problems surrounding the latest Microsoft patch also illustrate the value that a qualified third-party IT expert like Safe Systems can bring to community banks and credit unions. Through our meticulous testing process, which includes more than 2,000 machines running a wide variety of banking and lending applications, Safe Systems was able to identify both general PC issues and banking application issues related to the patch. This regimented testing process, which follows FFIEC guidance, enabled Safe Systems to minimize the impact on more than 25,000 financial institution devices. As a result, clients were able to avoid major hassles and headaches with a vast majority of their devices.
Safe Systems issued an official notification about the situation, spelling out the specific problem, impact, resolution, and action required for customers and eliminated the patch from the environments of clients that were having trouble. Customers using NetComply One to manage patches didn’t need to take any additional action—unless they still had problems after the patch was removed. For clients with lingering complications, Safe Systems’ fully staffed Network Operation Center (NOC) was available to resolve their issues quickly.
Safe Systems’ proactive actions to neutralize possible issues relating to the patch is a prime example of the benefit of our NetComply One solution. Part “product” and part “service,” NetComply One is a comprehensive patch management solution that offers quarterly advisement from Safe Systems experts. It provides valuable reporting and insight into potential issues to help community banks and credit unions pass audits and exams. To learn more about how NetComply One can help your financial institution, click here.