What is patch management?
Patch Management is the process of managing a network of computers by regularly deploying all missing patches to keep computers up to date. There's a saying that goes, "If you're going to do it more than once, automate it." This applies to patch management as well-from detection to the deployment of missing patches, you can automate the entire patch management process with the help of our patch management tool. The entire process is streamlined through a centralized patch management server. Centralized patch management lets you deploy third-party patches along with Microsoft patches, all from a central point of control.
This helps you reduce system-related failures so you can improve productivity and save on the costs associated with poor patch management. When utilizing automated patch management, you're free to focus on core business activities that increase revenue instead of individually managing patches and updates on the plethora of devices in your network.
Why is patch management so important?
The number of ransomware attacks is rapidly increasing with each passing day. For organizations with multiple servers and computers, ensuring that all of them are updated can be both time-consuming and challenging. Trying to manually manage these patches is not only a huge headache but also a major risk for businesses. Here are some key points about Patch Management to consider:
- Patch management is one of the most important IT tasks in any organization as leaving software and operating systems unpatched puts your organization at risk of serious security breaches.
- Soon after a security update is released, cybercriminals are already on the move, looking to exploit any unpatched systems. This is why security updates should be deployed in your systems as soon as possible.
- Manually monitoring and applying these security updates is not only difficult but dangerous; even a slight delay in installing security updates could put your systems in a vulnerable position. Do you feel confident enough to bet on yourself in a race against today's cybercriminal?
- Our patching software provides automated patch management which frees your IT administrators from the routine work of manually patching computers, so they can focus on other tasks that require their attention.
How to choose the right patch management software?
Which patch management software is best for your organization? That answer depends on the features that you're looking for. Every business has its own set of demands, but there are a few common traits most organizations want to see in patch management software. It should:
If you're looking for an affordable patch management solution that offers everything listed above, look no further; Patch Manager Plus offers all these features to help keep your network patched and secured, all from one, central location. It's a free patch management tool that is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux for up to 25 devices. It provides server patch management which helps to keep the data secure and up to date. Server patch management involves testing and patching physical and virtual servers. This free patch management software gives you access to all the essential features required to patch the system. This patch management solution secures your entire infrastructure.
Patch Manager Plus is available both as on-premises and on-cloud solution. Now you can deploy patches from cloud too.
Patch on Cloud!
Check out the feature comparison of On-Premises vs Cloud.
ManageEngine's patch management process:
ManageEngine's Patch Manager Plus follows these six steps in its patch management process: synchronizing, scanning, downloading, testing, deploying approved patches to their respective computers, and finally generating reports. For details on each of these steps, simply keep reading:
- Synchronization: All the patch information are collected from vendor sites and is fed into the patch database. This patch database is then synchronized with the Patch Manager Plus server.
- Detect: The next step is to identify the computers that require these patches. Patch Manager Plus automatically scans the computers in the network to detect the missing patches.
- Download: All missing patches are downloaded from vendor sites. This includes security updates, non-security updates, service packs, rollups, optional updates, and feature packs.
- Test and approve: The downloaded patches are first tested in non-production machines; deploying untested patches in a production environment can be risky - some patches and updates may lead to post-deployment problems like compatibility issues, which only make the admin's job tougher if incompatible patches and updates require uninstallation. The patches are approved only if they cause no issues post-deployment.
- Deployment: With flexible deployment policies, you can not only select the deployment window but create patching policies as well. This patch management policy provides access to multiple deployment settings to help you decide when to deploy a patch and how.
- Report: After successful deployment, reports are automatically generated and the information is sent to the server. It supports customized reports which help you to easily filter data and share results with others in a variety of formats.
What are the Patch Management Best Practices?
We know that patching endpoints of the whole network can prevent cyber attacks to a certain extent. But, it would be better if you're extra cautious about securing your networks.
So here are a few patch management best practices that we recommend you to follow:
- Scanning is a crucial part of patch management. Here, in Patch Manager Plus, once the Patch Database is updated an automated scan occurs. This detects the vulnerabilities and helps in keeping your systems properly patched.
- Patch your systems regularly. The frequency of patching depends on the criticality of the patches released.
- Missing patches in "Critical" or "Important" severity levels should be deployed immediately. For instance, Windows security patches must be deployed immediately using the APD feature. Whereas missing patches in "Moderate" or "Low" severity can be deployed within a week: we recommend you to first test these patches in the non-production machines by using the Test and Approve feature and then deploy them using the APD.
- Scan for Anti-virus updates at least once every day and patch them regularly.
- Read the security news feed which is listed in the Products' home tab as Latest Security News. This will help you to decide which patches should be deployed first. So you won't miss on the important patches. Also, follow our forums and attend our Patch Tuesday Webinars which we have every month to know more about the monthly patches released in detail. This will guide you to effectively manage your network and keep them secured.
By following the above-mentioned practices, you'll be able to keep the systems in your network up-to-date and protect them from miscellaneous malware. This greatly reduces security breaches which, in turn, reduces downtime.
To find out more about how your enterprise can benefit from using this tool, download our patch management best practices whitepaper.