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Automating Updates for Third Party Applications

written by: Steve Mallard•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/7/2010

One of the most intensive tasks for security and information technology specialist is keeping non Microsoft applications up to date. With customized applications, add-ons such as Flash, Java and other applications become a logistical nightmare for some IT Managers.

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    Patch Management for Applications

    One of the most intensive tasks for security and information technology specialist is keeping non Microsoft applications up to date. With customized applications, add-ons such as Flash, Java and other applications become a logistical nightmare for some IT Managers.

    Third party applications such as Secunia help IT managers identify vulnerabilities on workstations and servers. Secunia was established in 2002 and is visited by millions of visitors per year. This software allows for the management of vulnerability assessments, exploits, management and remediation.

    Once the software is installed, it goes online to compare the software on the workstation or server to a massive database online and notifies the IT department of outdated and vulnerable software. Secunia often finds long forgotten software installs that have become obsolete or are out dated.

    Secunia has less than .01% false positive when identifying vulnerabilities. Because the software loads with windows, it notifies the end-user and the information technology department. This remarkable software assesses more than 1000 vendors outside of the Microsoft family of products.

    The scanning of any workstation or server is a three step process after the application is installed. The software scans and detects third party applications using a signature technology. The application then determines the versions of all applications detected. The software in its final step compares the applications and versions detected against Secunia’s vulnerability and patch database. This comparison takes place over SSL (Secure Socket Layers on port 443) to ensure your privacy. The makers of Secunia keep their database up-to-date so that the aforesaid false positives described in the fourth paragraph above are not creating unnecessary and unwarranted worry. This error rate of .01% keeps unnecessary maintenance to an absolute minimum.

    With three versions available, users can choose between a simple online, home use and a professional version. Each version allows the customization and scanning based on a user’s need.

    The professional version, known as Network Software Inspector (NSI), allows the scanning of an entire network checking more than 7,000 vendors while keeping a historical overview for IT security professionals or IT managers. NSI scans all operating systems in the Microsoft family alerting these personnel to analyze, take action and log information about any vulnerability.

    All IT departments should use this type of tool to assess their network along with WSUS server (Windows Software Update Services) to take the cumbersome load of updating Windows, MS Office and applications.

    Secunia

    Microsoft WSUS