Detecting and mitigating attacks on applications

The role played by information in the current operational environment makes it one of the most important variables in defining the nature and extent of competitive advantage that business entities attain. Information management is important in ensuring effective coordination and owing to the high level of competition in various segments it plays a critical role in detecting threats and opportunities that could define success or failure.

Threats to applications are not only a security risk to information used by such application but also place an organization at risk of loosing critical information that could be important to its operations. This is a key risk considering that such losses will not only dent operations but also play a role in developing a bad name for an organization which could result in loss of consumer confidence thus reduced profitability. Most companies and firms have adopted automated information systems. Changes in technology come with a multitude of security threats (Beaver, & McClure, 2006).

Hackers’ activity, privacy violation and systems security breaches are at an all time high. Hackers have especially mastered the art of learning a system and porting applications that can either transfer information to their remote locations or disrupt security protocols. In either case it is upon an organization to ensure that the systems it develops or its information management procedures and policies guard against threats presented by people, change in technology and applications. This is a requirement for all organizations that have automated their information systems.

Way Out Information security is an area that has taken centre stage in recent times owing to the importance placed on information management and reputation within various industry segments. Commercial IT solutions have responded with developing tools that can be used in detection and mitigation of threats to applications. Antispyware, antiviruses, firewalls and operating systems utilities for security are some of the tools that the current information users have in mitigating security threats.

Various systems management policies and strategies have also been developed as computer scientists try to grapple with understanding the most efficient approach to ensuring systems integrity. Patch management has come up as an area that has the potential for providing an organization with the flexibility of designing security systems in a manner that offers flexibility in addressing threats presented by high level of dynamism (Jang, 2006).

Patch management as an intervention mechanism is a process that involves acquiring, testing and installing more than one patch to a computer system that is under administration. Under such systems, management of the patches which involves maintenance of data regarding the available patches, making decision on what patches should be used for specific tasks and ensuring that they are installed, tested and properly documented is a critical success factor (Jang, 2006).

Patches which are simple code changes are important in ensuring that organizations use codes that are unique to them; furthermore, there are products like RingMaster’s, PatchLink Update and Gibraltrar’s Everguard that help in automating patch management tasks (Jang, 2006). Though patches are important in ensuring that the system developed display high levels of flexibility, their management and implementation requires an organization to be truly committed to this approach to mitigating risks that applications face (Andres, Kenyon, & Birkholz, 2004).

Patches should be used as temporary solutions to ensure that information systems do not suffer form the negative effects of technological change while more comprehensive solutions are being developed. It is advisable that the implementation of the patches be made simple to reduce complexity in their testing and management which are some of the problematic areas in using patches. Use of patches presents an organization with a flexible system that can easily be upgraded to mitigate risks to application.

Moreover, the codes depending on their source can be refined to ensure they effectively address challenges faced by an organization (Jang, 2006). A key principle in effective information system management which entails ensuring integrity of a system while ensuring information availability in a manner that does not present risk to an organization is that systems developed must be relevant to information needs of an organization.

By providing flexibility, the patches ensure a system that can be used in implementing information security and developing strategies that are specific to challenges faced by an organization while ensuring the stringent measures do not reduce usability which is another critical success factor in information systems management (Jang, 2006). What are the Options? The company has the option of seeking freeware or commercial software. A combination of both is also possible except for a number of porting issues that may present security threats.

The pros of commercial software include guarantees and support. On the other hand, open source software presents no guarantees and in some cases support is non-existent. On the contrary, the cost of the actual software and license in commercial software solutions make them costlier than open source software (Gregory, Simon, & Simon, 2005). Decision on whether to choose open source or commercial software should be based on critical analysis of organizational needs with regards to security.