12 Best Practices for Patch Management in 2024

Cyberattacks and data breaches are omnipresent. By 2025, the global cybercrime costs are expected to reach $10.5 trillion. When the stakes are so high, shouldn't you be on top of your patching game?

Over the years, patch management has become a walk in the park, thanks to the compilation of patch management best practices. Gone are the days of manual patch downloads, tedious installations, and testing. Automation is the new normal. In this era, embracing software patching best practices is fundamental for ensuring a smooth and effective patch management workflow.

That being said, let's take a look at why organizations must have a set of Windows patch management best practices and for other OSes as well, and explore how you can create yours. By adopting and tailoring these best practices for patch management, you can fortify your network against potential vulnerabilities, ultimately improving cybersecurity. Ready to enhance your approach to patch management?

Let's explore how you can simplify patch management in your network by leveraging the top 12 patch management best practices.

Inefficient patch management: Doomsday for an organization

Here's why your enterprise needs to have a proper set of patch management strategies:

Securing endpoints

IBM's Cost of a Data Breach Report 2021 found that the global average total cost of a data breach is $4.24 million.

With sensitive information falling into the wrong hands, enterprises not only risk hefty penalties, but they may also lose customers or even go under. Implementing effective patch management best practices ensures fully patched endpoints can prevent security breaches that leverage unpatched vulnerabilities.

Ensuring compliance

Independent research by Ponemon Institute LLC found in a study of 54 companies that compliance costs for a company can be as high as $21.56 million.

However, this is nothing next to the cost of non-compliance. In the majority of cases in this study, non-compliance costs (the highest recorded being $39.22 million) exceed compliance costs.

With cybercrime on the rise, regulatory agencies have taken drastic measures to keep enterprises in line with compliance mandates. An integral part of patch management best practices is a proper patch management strategy that ensures all endpoints in your organization adhere to the compliance standards.

Preventing business interruptions due to Ransomware attacks

In Q3 2021, ransomware attacks on enterprises and organizations in the US, caused business interruptions for an average length of 22 days, as per Statista.

While the external cost of such interruptions can be easily measured in figures and dollars lost, there's more to that. Dissatisfied clients, privacy concerns and compliance fines, all of these combined can cause irreparable damage to the organization's reputation and revenue.

The only way to prevent such ransomware attacks is to embrace the proactive best practices for patch management and constantly patch vulnerabilities in the network as soon as possible.

Feature updates

Along with security updates, patches offer feature updates, too. Why not experience the latest features that OSs and software roll out for users?

Top 12 Patch Management Best Practices by ManageEngine

While patch management isn't that complicated, devising software patching best practices for your enterprise can be. Here's a quick peek into the best practices for patch management that you can follow to bolster your patching game.

1. Automate patch management, especially for security updates

Stats by a Ponemon Institute study show that it takes 16 days on average to patch a critical vulnerability once detected.

Say goodbye to tedious downloads and manual installations with automated patch deployment. From scanning missing patches to installing them on the respective endpoints, automated deployments are not just easy, but accurate and fast.

2. Use a critical-updates-first approach

As many as 65% of businesses have reported difficulty in prioritizing patches according to a study by Ponemon Institute.

With a critical-updates-first approach, admins can sort and act on the necessary patches that need to be installed immediately. This reduces the threat response time and ensures efficient patch management.

3. Schedule auto-deployments twice a week

With scheduled auto-deployment of patches, your endpoints will keep receiving regular patch updates as and when released. Our experts recommend scheduling deployments twice a week to allow proper testing and approval of the patches.

4. Allow user intervention to prevent productivity drops

While it's essential to patch endpoints as soon as possible, admins also have to ensure continued user productivity. With flexible deployment policies in place, users can choose to postpone updates if the update conflicts with their business-critical tasks.

5. Evaluate patches in a test environment before deploying them to endpoints

Learn more about patch management best practices. Download your free e-book today and...

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  • The integration of meticulous patch management best practices not only enhances your security posture but also lays down a secure foundation for your network.

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