Benchmarking Linux security – latest research findings

How well do your Linux security practices stack up in today’s challenging operating environment? Are you following the correct processes to keep systems up-to-date and protected against the latest threats? Now you can find out thanks to research independently conducted by the Ponemon Institute.

The research sponsored by TuxCare sought to understand better how organizations are currently managing the security and stability of their Linux-based systems. The results allow all organizations operating Linux-based systems to benchmark their processes against their peers and best practices.

You can get a copy of the complete report HERE if you can’t wait to see the findings, but we’ve highlighted the key takeaways below if you’d like a preview.

Research Goals

Understanding the current State of Enterprise Linux Security Management has never been more imperative. The number of high and critical vulnerabilities continues to grow each year significantly, and exploits against them are being deployed faster and faster.

TuxCare previously sponsored the Ponemon Institute to research how organizations managed their Linux-based systems’ security and stability. This research was of enormous benefit for organizations operating Linux-based systems.

Ponemon has updated the research to see how the threat management landscape is changing and provide insights into how businesses have adapted and refined their practices. In addition, the updated reports offer a more in-depth understanding of the security risks and mitigation strategies currently in place.

The Latest Findings

Organizations spend on average $3.5 million annually monitoring their systems for threats and vulnerabilities and implementing patch management processes. This cost to businesses includes the productivity impact of system downtime associated with patching.

Organizations spend around 1,075 hours monitoring and patching systems each week. This includes 340 hours of system downtime while applying patches, placing significant pressure on security teams when downtime impacts productivity. In fact, 45% of respondents reported their organization has no tolerance for patching downtime. This is a problem that live-patching solutions can eliminate, hence why 76% of respondents have adopted this technology.

However, the research found that despite this investment, respondents were not completely confident in their ability to quickly find and patch all the critical vulnerabilities in their systems to reduce security risks to an acceptable level. Over 56% of respondents took over a month to patch critical and high-priority vulnerabilities when they realized their systems were vulnerable. Furthermore, 5% of respondents admitted taking over a year to apply critical patches. This represents a worsening situation from the previous research and increased business risk.

The whole time a system has an unpatched vulnerability, that system is susceptible to exploitation. Vulnerability disclosure prompts attackers to work on methods to exploit the flaw and techniques to scan for exploitable systems. Fast patching doesn’t just provide reassurance that your systems are secure. It can also be critical in meeting regulatory requirements.

Even more remarkable were the findings that about a third of organizations are not aware of their responsibility for the security of cloud-hosted systems, assuming the hosting company managed it. Many cloud-hosted systems with no active security management rely on default security controls and luck to avoid an attack.


Organizations are at risk because of the inability to detect and patch vulnerabilities quickly enough for all the systems they are responsible for managing. The research found only 43% of respondents believe they have adequate resources and in-house expertise for timely patching. In addition, respondents saw a lack of accountability for patch management and assigning responsibilities outside IT security functions as factors.

The research also shows an increase in automation for day-to-day system management activities. The standardization and repeatability of processes are positive factors in system security and stability, plus respondents who have implemented automation reported a significantly faster vulnerability response time.

To read the complete report and all its detailed findings related to Enterprise Linux Security, you can get your free copy HERE.

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