Patch Management

What is Patch Management?

Patch Management is the process of detecting, downloading, testing, approving and installing new/missing patches for all the Operating Systems and applications within a network.

Patch management entails having a centralized view on the applicable patches for endpoints across a network, so that Vulnerable, Highly Vulnerable and Healthy Systems can be classified at a glance. This helps spot the systems that need attention so that appropriate measures can be taken to keep the network safe from cyberattacks.

Patches can be broadly categorized into three types:
  1. Hotfixes/Bugfixes: These address software bugs and enhance performance/functionality.
  2. Security Patches: These fix security vulnerabilities in software.
  3. Upgrades/Service Packs: These are released as an accumulation of bug fixes, enhancements, security patches and drivers(if any) since last upgrade.

Why is Patch Management Required?

Cyber crime has increased exponentially in the past decade, with hackers becoming more and more creative and coming up with new ways to exploit vulnerabilities. One of the most common entry points for these attacks are unpatched systems. Every time a security patch is released, the attackers become aware of a new vulnerability that can be exploited (in unpatched systems) and they start probing networks for the weakness.

Since only 38% of the organizations are prepared for a cyberattack, such vulnerable networks are easy to come across and exploit. This is why an effective patch management solution is required, to keep networks safe from cyber attacks and prevent data breaches. System administrators need to ensure that all the endpoints in their network are up-to-date and have no performance issues, so that everyone can make an efficient use of the time and resources available to them, safely and securely. To summarize, if endpoints are left unpatched in a network, it will lead to:

  • Missing out on new features and resources
  • Reduced performance
  • Systems being vulnerable to attacks

Keep your Endpoints Secure and Up-to-date

Desktop Central offers a fully automated Patch Management solution for Windows, Mac, Linux and third party applications(view the complete list of supported applications here). The following features and capabilities give you granular control over the entire patch management process:

Updated Vulnerability Database

Patch Management Architecture

Zohocorp continuously probes the internet for newly released patches and vulnerabilities. Once a new patch is discovered, it is added to Zohocorp's Central Patch Repository after ample verification and testing. This repository can be accessed by Desktop Central server installed within a client's environment and is used to evaluate vulnerabilities within the network.

On the client's site, Desktop Central Server maintains a Vulnerability Database which is synced periodically with the Central Patch Repository. This sync is done in two ways:

  • Daily sync: The server syncs its vulnerability database with the central patch repository every day. You can configure the time at which this sync will take place.
  • On-demand Sync: The vulnerability database can be updated anytime by initiating an on-demand sync.

Periodic Patch Scanning

A patch scan is automatically initiated every time the vulnerability database is updated. All systems in the network will be scanned for missing patches within the next 90 minutes and this data will be posted to Desktop Central Server.

System Health Policy

Patch Management Dashboard

Desktop Central allows you to classify the health status of the systems within your network via the system health policy. You can specify the number of missing patches for which the systems should be classified as healthy, vulnerable and highly vulnerable. Based on this classification, you will be able to narrow down the systems that need immediate attention and take effective measures.

Automate Antivirus Updates

Desktop Central also helps automate antivirus definition updates. Such updates are quite frequent and may happen several times a day which might result in high bandwidth consumption. To avoid it, you can schedule these updates once every day at a convenient time.

Disable Automatic Updates

You can disable automatic updates using Desktop Central in just a few clicks. This enables you to have complete control over any updates that are installed within your network.

Automatically Test and Approve Patches before Deployment

It is always recommended to test patches before installing them on all the systems in your network to ensure that there is no downtime due to faulty patches. Using Desktop Central, you can form test groups and automate installation of patches on test systems before rolling them out to the entire network. You can also specify the number of days after which the patches should be approved automatically for installation on the rest of the systems.

Decline Patches for Specific Applications

You can choose to decline patches for certain applications (legacy applications) or in case there's a patch that causes instability while it's installed on test systems. Desktop Central allows you to decline non-severe patches as well as patches for a specific group of computers.

Schedule Patch Deployment

Schedule Patch Deployment

To avoid bandwidth issues and ensure system availability, system administrators can schedule the installation of patches on a convenient day and time by configuring a deployment policy. In the deployment policy, you can configure the week(s) and day(s) on which the deployment should take place, the time interval within which the patch should be installed, and the reboot policy. You can also allow the user to skip deployment. Desktop Central has the capability to wake computers on LAN before deployment, if the computers are shut down at that moment.

Automated Patch Deployment

Using Desktop Central you can automate patch deployment every step of the way and save time, resources and effort. You can automate it for specific applications or departments within your network, on the desired day and time, at a convenient frequency. You only need to schedule it once, and the entire process will be automated and you will be notified at each step. Visit this web page to know more about this.

Patch Management using Mobile App

You can manage patches on the go with our mobile app. In just a few taps, you can install patches, approve/decline patches, view detailed patch reports, initiate patch scanning and much more! What's better is that you don't even have to do these tasks yourself, just ask Zia, Desktop Central's IT Assistant, and she'll do them for you.