How To Continuously Implement Drupal Security Updates

By Elizabeth Clor


Keeping on top of updates to internet software can be a laborious task for IT teams. Though critical to the security of a website or application, the processes—from tracking new releases to scheduling and running the updates—can be both time-consuming and tedious. 

Now more than ever though, website security is a top priority for any business. Last year, there was a 63% increase in cyberattacks, egged on by accelerated adoption of digital services needed to live and work during the pandemic. As the dust settles, and new inroads in digital become permanent fixtures, security is once again top-of-mind for organizations. 

For those using Drupal to host and manage websites, Drupal recommends subscribing to security updates and news via its official email list and checking the update report regularly. But what if a users’ Drupal websites are large and complex, and contain anywhere from 50 to 10,000 modules that require constant updates? Should IT teams be expected to read the patch notes and check for each update manually? 

When it comes to broad software projects, this isn’t practical or advisable—it’s how outdated security modules and vulnerabilities fall through the cracks. But there’s good news for IT teams: a third-party Drupal support partner like Contegix can alleviate the burden of constant security patches, making the updating processes easier and even take things one step further to provide monitoring capabilities to mitigate vulnerabilities. 

Thousands of modules are hard to keep track of 

Drupal is one of the most secure content management systems (CMS), but only if the user remains vigilant in keeping up-to-date on the latest security patches. And for IT teams that are already strapped on resources and time, this is easier said than done. 

For many organizations, their Drupal websites have become too big and complicated to reasonably track and apply security releases manually from Drupal Security News updates. Or, IT teams may have inherited a Drupal website and aren’t sure whether someone else has hacked modules, which can make security updates a nightmare-ish prospect that causes lost changes each time that Drupal core is updated.  

To get around manual tracking, some Drupal users have turned to enabling the Update core module with security-focused settings, or use Drush to apply security updates. However, each has its own drawbacks. 

Update core can have a negative impact on website performance, if the user doesn’t understand how Drupal modules are dependent on each other. This can trigger crashes or slow load times, which can hurt consumers’ experience and make them less likely to engage or return in the future. Meanwhile, Drush is a great customizable integration to meet the specific needs of Drupal websites; however, it similarly requires some configuration and extra work on the server that IT teams may not have expertise in setting up. 

Ensure Drupal security is up-to-date with a trusted partner

Instead of using either of these options, the best way to ensure Drupal security is up-to-date is through a third-party support provider with Drupal hardening expertise. This kind of partner can not only handle applying constant security updates, but also provides a proactive approach to security with tools like file monitoring, malware and virus protection and even providing active support if an issue does arise. 

Contegix, for example, has a team of Drupal experts who understand the system’s software in and out, and can determine what solutions work best and where vulnerabilities might exist. File monitoring tools are used to scan and track even dynamic files, such as directories or portals where customers’ personal data lives, and will alert network operators immediately to investigate any security issues. 

Contegix support also takes security one step further, providing Drupal hardening tools such as file scanning to locate hidden vulnerabilities—even if they haven’t been exploited yet. This comprehensive tool identifies signatures from known Drupal vulnerabilities and scans an application in search for them. If harmful signatures are found, a remediation process is then performed to patch the vulnerabilities. 

Organizations can also gain peace of mind in knowing that a support team of Drupal experts are available 24/7 to assist with any security issues. As soon as a potential Drupal security problem becomes known, this team springs into action to preemptively patch users’ operating systems, modules or middleware against potential threats. 

While a third-party Drupal support provider may require an upfront cost, it’s nothing compared to the costs associated with damages from a cyberattack. And some of those costs, such as a tarnished brand reputation or image, can never be recouped. 

The best way to avoid these risks, while also optimizing a Drupal website's capabilities and performance, is through the guiding hand of a trusted Drupal support partner like Contegix. By tapping Contegix to handle the heavy-lifting of managing security updates and monitoring for vulnerabilities, IT teams can free themselves to work on more strategic technology initiatives while keeping their organizations safe from those who wish to do them harm. 

For more information on how Contegix can help manage Drupal’s deluge of security updates while mitigating vulnerabilities, check out our Drupal Solutions.