Patch management software helps your organization acquire, test and install code to fix any vulnerability in your applications and operating system. Software patch management solutions also help assess exposure and also prioritize patches depending on the threat. It also identifies any missing patches that ought to be replaced. Patch management software also offers real time reports for auditing and compliance needs.
Before you can choose which patch management software is most ideal for you, there are factors you need to look into.
Selecting a Patch Management Package
There are two very important considerations to make:
– Patch management versus configuration management
– Agentless management versus agent management.
Patch Management versus Configuration Management
This is one of the prime decisions you have to make. You need to decide on whether or not to switch to configuration patch management because of the patch capabilities it presents or to switch to a point product that may or may not offerconfiguration capabilities. Most organizations opt for the latter because they feel that they are not ready to commit to a complete configuration suite or because the solution they are using currently does not provide the best patch management solution. The price you have to pay for having both types in one organization is the need to have multiple consoles.
It is best to first analyze the patch capabilities of your current management solution. It may turn out to be less expensive to maintain for both patch management and configuration management functions.
Agentless versus Agent Management
Agentless path systems are created under a push technology and are based on a centralized design. Here, software that is server based scans the systems in the organization and initiates any patching needed on the system. In the case of agent based patch solutions, a client based software program scans the system for any vulnerability and reports the findings to a central server.
An agentless solution is most ideal for networks with a lot of bandwidth and connected systems. On the other hand, agent based patch solutions are most ideal for organizations with machines that are frequently disconnected such as laptops, or for distributed networks with different locations with limited bandwidth.
When you use an agent based solution, you get to enjoy more control and the ability to scan and monitor inventory.
The Dos of Patch Management
Deploy a Patch Management Solution that Patches more than the OS
Take into consideration all the 3rd party plugins and applications that are installed in your system. Microsoft, Apple and Adobe release several patches each year which respond to current and potential exploits. An automatic patch management solution would be most ideal since manually patching every system in your network can take time.
Test Patches before Deploying them
While patch vendors do test the patches before release, it is always a good idea for you to test apatch before deploying it. Use test servers and workstations to test the patches before deploying them.
Maintain Regular Windows for Patching
It is important to prioritize patching. Make a regular schedule for patching. This is the best way to ensure that you catch any vulnerability before itbecomes a liability to your organization.
The don’ts of patch management
Do not Assume that your System is Already Patched
Regardless of the system you use, make sureto check the reports to ensure that the patch deployment was a success. It is also ideal to run security scans after patch deployment to confirm that all deployments were successful. If you have any users who work remotely, ensure that their systems too are patched.
Avoid using a Solution that Only Patches the OS
It is a good idea to set all systems to automatically update concurrently. You need to choose a patch software program that patches your operating system as well as other applications and plugins.
By choosing the most ideal patching software and following the dos and don’ts, you can rest assured that your data is secured.