It is absolutely necessary to keep your software updated with the latest version of the security patches, especially it is essential for your organization at a time when cyberthreats are knocking at your door as they are today. It is believed by the experts across the B2b sector that patch management ensures that all your software is up to date and known vulnerabilities have been quickly taken care off.

What is Patch Management?

Patch management is basically a technique of applying patches to all the business software, and this includes addition of patch files to operating systems (OS), system software, browsers and applications running on your servers and that of the laptops as well. Whereas, Software vendors across the globe issues patches mainly based on two basic reasons:

  • Firstly, it easily fixes functional bugs and to remove security risks that could be exploited by the computer hackers.
  • The second reason is there are several different kinds of patch releases including hotfixes, security patches and service packs as a whole.

Software Vulnerabilities generally have different kinds of criticality ratings, that you can use to prioritize your patch deployments, as there is presence of security bugs that needs to be fixed on an asap basis.

What is the Purpose of Patch Management?

The purpose of having patch management is to maintain the functional operation of a particular computer software and to uphold a good security system. Thus, fixing software security risks through patching reduces the cyber threats from the hackers and keep them at continuous surveillance, and according to the Ponemon Institute report, around 60 percent of breach victims said in their own bare mouth that there were breaches in their security system due to the exploitation of a known vulnerability where the security patch was not properly applied at once.

Importance of Patch Management

The importance and need of patch management is critical when it comes to securing of your computer and server systems, as mentioned above, the main reason of availing patches is to repair the functional bugs and security flaws within a particular software. Another, sole reason to apply patches is to help maintain regulatory compliance, as many compliance standards require regular updating of software. Thus, implementing patch management is of absolute necessity especially for organizations to stay compliant with various industry regulations, and if you fail to obey compliances, it results in hefty fines.

The Benefits of Patch Management Software

Some of the benefits of having a patch management software for your organization are as follows:

  • Improved Security

    With the aid of this patch management software, one can easily protect their IT environments from various kinds of security breaches by patching your organization software on a regular basis.

  • Minimized Downtime

    Ransomware and other kinds of cyber-attacks can bring a sudden halt to your business, at the same time functional bugs can also cause system downtime.

  • Reduction in Compliance Fines

    If you effectively patch your system software, then one can avoid hefty penalties and fines imposed by the regulatory bodies as a whole.

Patch Management Process and Its Lifecycles

To make your organization work efficiently one should opt for the automation process, that reduces the burden of your IT time with absolute ease. At times, in certain cases technicians need to review, and then approve or reject patches. It is always recommended to apply patches to your company software and systems within one month of it releases.

Thus, the general patch management process involves all these lifecycles stages and they are as follows

Lifecycle of patch management process

  • Track Patch Releases

    Always stay alert whenever the patch file releases from the vendors i.e., whose software your business generally uses, and your endpoint management solution can do this automatically.

  • Scan

    The endpoint management tool of ngDesk successfully scans all the endpoints of your servers, desktops and laptops. It tries to find out, if there are any software that require recently published patches or not.

  • Acquire

    Time to acquire patch files from your vendors on a daily basis, if possible, one should download patches from vendor sites whenever it is available.

  • Test

    Always, test the patches in a test environment before deploying them to the production systems as a whole

  • Deploy

    Deploy patches to your production systems based on your policies, and automate the process of deployment to save time and to maintain hygiene in the IT environment as a whole. One should also schedule patch deployments to avoid business disruption. Use blackout windows to prevent deployments during certain business hours, if it is needed.

  • Validate

    Ensure patches work as expected and don’t break any of your systems or applications, always make sure of the validity and accuracy of patches, as your systems should function as required after the deployment of the patches.

  • Report

    One should always report on updated systems and fixes, thus, generate reports on the various patch management tasks. Documenting patching procedures and implementations allows you to refer to the data whenever required.

To take the discussion one step forward one should discuss about the best practices associated with patch management process as a whole.

Best Practices of Patch Management Process:

  • Patch from a Single Console

    The unique patch management solution, thus, enables a centralized management of patches on all your endpoints enhances efficiency.

  • Prioritize Patches

    Always try to understand the priority of deployment of the software patches based on their critical requirements either for security or for functional reasons as a whole

  • Automate the Patch Management Process

    Always, reduce the time between the release and application of patches by automating the process on a regular basis.

  • Standardize the Patch Process

    Time to establish policies that standardizes the patch processes across different kinds of IT environment and for different categories of endpoints for, e.g., server vs workstation. At the same time, one can quickly set up policies regarding endpoint management solution.

  • Test Your Patches Before Deployment

    Try to create a test environment for various kinds of patches to avoid being caught off guard by unintended consequences.

In conclusion, one can say that an effective patch management process can improve the security of your software and systems as a whole. As a result, it prevents all kinds of ransomware and data breaches activity. In other words, patch management software also automates the process of endpoint scanning, patch acquisition and deployment for multiple vendors as a whole.

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