Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) is a free add-on offered by Microsoft for Windows Server. WSUS downloads the necessary patches and updates from Microsoft updates, and distributes them to Windows operating systems and related Microsoft applications present in your Windows network.
Though WSUS brings some automation to the laborious patching process, its functionalities are rudimentary. Also, it can only patch Windows OSs and Windows-related applications. With many enterprises scaling up and embracing hybrid OS environments, WSUS is not a viable option for patching. On top of this, there are countless other issues, including a well documented issue regarding the WSUS client not reporting.
This is why many IT admins start looking for a WSUS alternative that fills the gaps left by WSUS while simplifying all the complexities involved in patching.
Every enterprise dreams of consolidating their patching needs into a single solution, so that they can worry less about security and focus on productivity. This is where Patch Manager Plus comes in. Here are the 10 essential Patch Management features that gives Patch Manager Plus an edge over WSUS and makes it the best WSUS alternative.
Using WSUS to manage Windows OS and application patches and adopting an alternative solution to manage other OSs and applications can be a challenge. You can eliminate management complexities with Patch Manager Plus, which simplifies multi-OS patching by offering a single interface to manage patches for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
WSUS can patch some third-party applications, but very few. On top of this, the insignificant number of third-party applications it can patch are updated through an API, which requires additional configuration and therefore is rarely used.
Third-party applications account for up to 75 percent of a network's vulnerabilities. Almost all enterprises rely on third-party applications like Adobe, Java, and Firefox for business-critical activities. According to a report mentioned by CSO, Java poses the single biggest security risk to US desktops. Patch Manager Plus supports patching for an extensive list of over 350 third-party applications including Adobe and Java, as well as patches for multiple internet browsers.
New viruses are identified every day, and antivirus vendors regularly release signature files or definition updates to combat these viruses and malware. With Patch Manager Plus, you can keep your antivirus programs up to date with the latest definition updates.
One of the biggest drawbacks with WSUS is that there are no options for testing patches. The Test and Approve option offered by Patch Manager Plus automates the process of testing patches for stability before rolling them out to the production environment. The tested patches can either be approved automatically or manually based on the test results, preventing rogue updates from wreaking havoc in your network.
Unlike WSUS, Patch Manager Plus offers complete automation from detecting missing patches, downloading patches from vendor sites, and testing them for stability, to deploying them to target endpoints. You can configure multiple deployment tasks with different update categories, deployment policies, and target machines to automate the entire process.
With Patch Manager Plus' deployment policies, you can effectively deploy patches at predefined times so updates won't eat into employee productivity. You can decide when to patch as well as what action should be performed pre and post patching. This helps you keep up with different deployment schedules, make sure bulky updates don't disrupt users' work hours, and prevent/postpone reboots for business-critical servers.
Certain application updates introduce compatibility issues (for example, legacy applications), or patches may turn out to be problematic during the testing process. At times, you may even need to delay the deployment of less critical patches until a later time. Whatever the reason, Patch Manager Plus' Decline Patches feature comes in handy for declining or delaying patch updates.
WSUS reports are redundant. But that's not the only problem with WSUS. It often reports falsely that patches are applied successfully even when patch installations fail. Also, when a user or an admin uninstalls a patch manually, it rarely gets reflected in WSUS. Replace overwhelming, redundant reports with insightful reports that provide actionable insights. Patch Manager Plus offers different pre-defined reports and customizable query reports that come in different formats including PDF, CSV, and XML. You can track the progress of patches by scheduling reports and sending them directly to your email.
Forget about WSUS' outdated user interface. Patch Manager Plus provides dynamic dashboards where you can view the status of patches at a glance. You can also customize system health policies based on your organization's requirements, and monitor system health directly from the dashboard.
WSUS is free, but far from the best solution for patch management. Even with WSUS in place, if you have Mac or Linux devices to patch, you'll either have to handle them manually, or invest in another solution.
On the other hand, Patch Manager Plus starts at $7/computer/year and handles the patching requirements for not only Windows, Mac, and Linux devices, but for hundreds of third-party applications as well. It also bolsters endpoint security and helps you save on operational costs by automating various routine activities like vulnerability monitoring, patch deployment, patch compliance reporting, etc.
Patch Manager Plus, the one-stop solution for all your patching needs, is scalable, affordable and can adapt to your business needs without compromising on its functionality could easily be the best WSUS alternative you can ever find.