PAYE umbrella freelancers specialising in the IT skills market could well see a hike in demand for their services following a report from GFI Solutions.  The company, which is a leading provider of IT solutions for SMEs, has released a survey which reveals that over half of the businesses polled have suffered a business-critical IT failure at least once as a direct result of using bad software patches.

25 per cent of respondents reported recurring IT failures caused by compatibility issues arising from badly developed software updates or by bug-infected patches.  The hardest hit sectors appear to be legal (43 per cent) and healthcare (40 per cent).

The survey, conducted by market research firm Opinion Matters on behalf of GFI, polled 256 senior IT decision makers across the UK.  90 per cent confirmed that they considered early deployment of critical updates a priority, applying patches within a fortnight of their release.  However, the process can be tedious – 45 per cent reported that they lack a dedicated patch management solution, meaning that patch updates have to be distributed and managed manually.  In the absence of an automated solution, 72 per cent of respondents confirmed that they were unable to deploy critical patches within the crucial 24 hours following release to the public.

Cristian Florian, GFI Software’s Product Manager, said that the stark figures “ reinforce the importance of testing patches before deploying them in a production environment.” He advocated the use of automated patch management solutions such as GFI LANguard 2011, which help keep a balance between sustaining productivity, testing patches so that they don’t interfere with business activity, and applying them “in a timely fashion to avoid compromising security ”.

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