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Linux Patch Management on cloud

With increasing remote workforces, it is high time enterprises start considering cloud-based solutions to tackle business continuity issues that arise from changing work dynamics. IT administrators, especially, can exert far better control over endpoints and aim for complete cyber security once they move their IT operations to cloud. Software vendors have started realizing this and are now extending support for cloud based operations on Windows and macOS systems. What often gets lost in any such transition are the Linux machines.

NetMarketShare reports that out of 250 million PCs sold every year, about 1.84 percent of them run on Linux. This amounts to a good 4 million Linux PCs on an average per year. Though Linux isn't as popular as Windows and macOS, it has found its way into the operations of various top brands like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and various other businesses.

With such widespread use of the Linux Operating system, it only makes sense to shift to cloud-based solutions if they extend support to patch and secure your Linux systems as well. With Patch Manager Plus cloud, you can seamlessly patch Linux machines, whilst enjoying all the benefits that come with having a cloud-based patch management solution.

The benefits of Linux patch management using Patch Manager Plus cloud

Patch Manager Plus cloud's Linux patch management features help you:

  • Patch all the loopholes in your Linux endpoints, keeping your networks secured.
  • Save time and money. With the APD feature, the whole Linux patch management process is automated—from scanning for and deploying patches to generating patch status reports.
  • Centralize patch management for all Linux operating systems.
  • Save on additional hardware/infrastructure required to maintain on-premises solutions. Seamlessly patch remote machines and distributed machines.
  • View comprehensive reports, including reports on the System Health Policy and patch level status, which can be drilled down further for a more detailed view.

Note: All Linux agents (including the ones under the Distribution Server) will directly download patches from the vendor websites.

Supported Linux versions.

Patch Manager Plus cloud supports Linux security patches and non-security updates (only for Red Hat machines) with bulletin IDs for computers running the following versions of Linux:

  1. Red Hat 5, 6, 7, and 8
  2. SUSE Enterprise Linux 11 & 12
  3. Ubuntu 15.10 & later versions
  4. Debian 7, 8, 9, and 10
  5. CentOS 7 & 8
  6. Pardus 17 & 19

What are the Linux patch management strategies?

There are two ways of patching your Linux systems:
(i) You can either deploy the patches manually or
(ii) You can choose to automate it by creating an automated patch deployment task in Patch Manager Plus cloud.

How to patch your Linux systems manually?

You can deploy your patches in your Linux machines manually by following the steps below.

  • For Debian-based Linux operating systems (Debian Patching, Ubuntu Patching, Linux Mint, etc.), run the following commands as "root" or using "sudo," in the given order:

    sudo apt-get update       # Fetches the list of available updates
    sudo apt-get upgrade       # Strictly upgrades the current packages
    sudo apt-get dist-upgrade     # Installs updates (new ones)

  • For Red Hat-based Linux operating systems (RedHat Patching, CentOS, Oracle Linux, etc.), run the following commands as "root" or using "sudo," in the given order:

    yum check-update           # To check for the list of available updates
    yum update                      # Installs updates for all the packages

  • For Suse-based Linux operating systems (Suse Linux Enterprise, OpenSuse), run the following commands as "root" or using "sudo," in the given order:

    zypper check-update                       # To check for the list of available updates
    zypper update                                  # Installs updates for all the packages

However, manual deployment often results in errors. There are too many steps involved, and it can be difficult to pin-point the errors made. Due to such complexities, patch management is often rather time-consuming for users. Thankfully, Patch Manager Plus cloud has come up with a solution for all these complications—complete automation using the Automate Patch Deployment (APD) feature.

How to automate Linux patch management using Patch Manager Plus cloud?

After automation is applied, the entire patch management process becomes more efficient. This Linux patch management software automates the entire process. It scans for missing patches, downloads them, and tests them in a non-production environment; if the patches don't cause any issues, Patch Manager Plus cloud approves them to be rolled out in the production environment and schedules reports.

To automate the patch management process, simply follow the steps below.

  • Schedule patch scan - Go to Patch Manager Plus cloud and navigate to Systems > Scan Systems to scan for missing patches in your network.
  • Choose deployment policies - Based on the severity of the missing patches, you should prioritize missing patches with important or critical severity levels. You can patch your machines through manual deployment by creating a patch configuration, or you can automate patch deployment.
    You can approve patches first if you prefer to manually perform this task, allowing the Automate Patch Deployment feature to patch your machines in the next available deployment window.
  • Test and approve - For patches with low or moderate severity, you'll have time to test those patches in a non-production environment. If they don't cause any problems post-deployment, then they can be rolled out to the production environment.
  • View patch and system reports - In Patch Manager Plus cloud, go to Reports > System Health Report to see how your systems are performing post-deployment. The predefined patch management reports show you the patch status of your systems, among other things, allowing you to quickly ascertain the security of your network.
    Note: We recommend you maintain a supported version of Linux, because many older versions are no longer supported by Linux.

Note: For patching Red Hat and SUSE, it is recommended that all the managed endpoints have valid system licenses.

See the full list of Linux applications supported by Patch Manager Plus cloud.