For most companies, especially those who are continually installing modern technologies, security should be a top priority. While there are many different facets of security to be considered, patch management is often under implemented.
Patching is the practice of filling the holes found in information systems after they have been released to the public. A good example of patching would be Microsoft’s constant Windows updates. These updates are used to eliminate bugs and fix vulnerabilities found in current operating systems, software, firewalls, hardware and more.
Patch management also ensures that all your systems work as they should. Technology in general can be temperamental. The smallest bug or glitch can bring employee productivity to a grinding halt. Automation of patching is a proactive way to combat and prevent these types of situations.
Due to the number of systems that need constant patching it can seem like an overwhelming task. Enter patch management. By creating a patch management schedule, you can be confident that all of your systems are up to date and protected from potential threats as well as control when the patches are applied.
How it works
While patch management will differ slightly from company to company, the basic process is the same. What we do is implement an automated schedule which reduces the amount of manual input needed. This process starts with the installation of a program on your servers and computers called an “agent”. This agent allows our administrators the ability to choose which patches can be installed on the target machine. The next step is to create a schedule for downloading and installing the patches.
Due to the size of some of these patches it is best to have them download outside of working hours. If no schedule is put in place these large downloads and installations can take place at very inopportune times and ruin your workflow. With an efficient patch schedule in place you do not need to worry if your machine is up to date or fear that a pending update will leave you without a computer while it installs.
Patch management can also lead to a better understanding of which devices are requiring consistent patches and lead to intelligent purchasing decisions. If a vendor or supplier is frequently issuing patches, it may be indicative of a device that is prone to security risks and can be slated for audit or replacement.
Effective patch management should be considered a necessity in every environment. The ability to automate the process and proactively manage these patches will lead to more secure systems and fewer headaches.