Patching Latest 2022
What does patching mean in it?
Patching is a process to repair a vulnerability or a flaw that is identified after the release of an application or a software. Newly released patches can fix a bug or a security flaw, can help to enhance applications with new features, fix security vulnerability.
A patch is a set of changes to a computer program or its supporting data designed to update, fix, or improve it. This includes fixing security vulnerabilities and other bugs, with such patches usually being called bugfixes or bug fixes.
What is patch management?
A software patch is a piece of code tailored to fix a bug or to add new features to an application. Patch management is the process of systematically deploying updates (patches) to software. This is done to fix bugs in the software code, add new features, or prevent them from being exploited by threat actors.
This section talks about:
The types of patches.
Why patch management is important.
Five steps for an efficient patch management.
The best practices for patch management.
Choosing the right patch management software.
ManageEngine’s patch management solution.
Types of patches
Now that we have a basic idea about what patching is, let’s dig in deeper. There are various kinds of patches, each tailored to suit specific needs and to address specific issues. While some are designed for bug fixes to enhance security, others add features to software. Patches can be broadly classified into the following three categories:
Security patches: Security patches address security vulnerabilities in software, thereby securing it from being exploited by hackers and other threat actors.
Bug fix patches: Bugs in software can range in severity from minor to critical. Bug fix patches ensure that the software is up to date with the latest, bug-free version.
Feature update patches: Feature update patches introduce newer features and functions to software. In addition, they also enhance performance, making software faster and more efficient.
Why is patch management important?
The number of ransomware attacks is increasing exponentially with each passing day. For organizations with multiple servers and computers, ensuring that all of them are updated can be both time-consuming and challenging.
Trying to manually manage these patches is not only hectic, but also a major risk for businesses. That being said, here are some key reasons that state the importance of patch management:
Preventing security breaches: Patch management is one of the most important IT tasks in any organization, as patches fix vulnerabilities in the software and applications, keeping cyberattacks at bay. When left unpatched, software and operating systems can put your organization in the path of severe security breaches.
Ensuring compliance: With cybercrime on the rise, regulatory agencies have taken drastic measures to keep enterprises in line with compliance mandates. An integral part of a proper patch management strategy is to ensure that all the endpoints in an organization adhere to compliance standards.
Feature updates: Besides providing security and bug fixes, patches also introduce new features and functions. This improves usability and enhances the end-user experience.
Downtime prevention: Ransomware attacks and other cyberthreats not only result in data breaches but can also cause system downtime, which in turn affects the productivity and revenue of any organization. Systematized patch management ensures the endpoints are updated and secure, thereby preventing downtime due to security breaches.
5 steps for an efficient patch management process
While installing patches is a crucial step, installing them the second they are available can wreak havoc on endpoints. This is why it’s highly recommended you create a strategic approach that strikes a fine balance between the time to patch and patch prioritization.
Here are the five steps for an efficient patch management process:
Choose centralized patch management software
Manually updating patches and keeping tabs on reports is an impossible task. When an organization grows, applying patches manually becomes increasingly difficult and impractical, paving the way for critical errors. This is why it’s best to opt for patch management software that offers a central console featuring patch deployment, reporting, and customizations.
Test patches prior to deployment in a pilot environment
There are several instances wherein certain patches have caused system instability and crashes. As a result, it is highly recommended to test the patches in a pilot group of endpoints before they are deployed to the production machines. As a best practice, the pilot group of endpoints must have all the same flavors and operating system versions being used in the network.
Prioritization and systematic deployment
Sorting the patches and the endpoints you need to patch by priority is yet another important step for an efficient patch management process. It is best to practice patch deployment in the endpoints in groups and not as a whole. Moreover, patches should be deployed based on their severity, with critical patches being the top priority.
Manual patching of all the endpoints in an organization is a repetitive task that demands time and labor, causing productivity drops. In addition, it increases the overall time to fully patch every endpoint in the organization, leaving more room for exploitation by threat actors. Automating the entire patch management process and using a patching tool for your organization ensures faster response times, enhanced security, and improved productivity.
Track and generate reports
Tracking the progress and failure of the patch deployments in the network and keeping a record is crucial. Generating and maintaining reports helps with assessing the patch compliance of the network.
What are the best practices for patch management?
Patching endpoints regularly can keep cyberattacks at bay to a large extent. Here are a few patch management best practices that we recommend you follow:
Automate patch management, especially for security updates
A study by Ponemon Institute, the Costs and Consequences of Gaps in Vulnerability Response, states that it takes 16 days on average to patch a critical vulnerability once detected.
Say goodbye to tedious downloads and manual installations with automated patch deployment. From scanning missing patches to installing them on the respective endpoints, automated deployments are not just easy, but accurate and fast.
Use a critical-updates-first approach
As many as 72% of respondents in the same Ponemon study reported difficulties in prioritizing patches.
With a critical-updates-first approach, admins can sort and act on the patches that need to be installed immediately. This reduces the threat response time and ensures efficient patch management.
Schedule auto-deployments twice a week
With scheduled auto-deployment of patches, your endpoints will keep receiving regular patch updates as and when released. Our experts recommend scheduling deployments twice a week to allow proper testing and approval of patches.
Allow user intervention to prevent productivity drops
While it’s essential to patch endpoints as soon as possible, admins also have to ensure continued user productivity. With flexible deployment policies in place, users can choose to postpone updates if the update conflicts with their business-critical tasks.
Choosing the right patch management software
How do you find the best patch management software for your organization? The answer depends on the features that you’re looking for. Every business has its own set of demands, but there are a few common traits most organizations want to see in patch management software.
The patch management tool should:
Apply patches across every major operating system, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Support software patching for heterogeneous endpoints such as laptops, desktops, servers, remote devices, etc.
Provide patching support for third-party applications.
Have a completely automated patch management feature to save time and money for users.
Offer dynamic reporting with details on the status of patches.
Have an interactive, affordable, easy-to-use, web-based interface with support documentation to help users at every step.
Remote Patch Management: To manage remote patching for work-from-home options.
Patch Manager Plus provides:
1-Windows patch management: Automates Windows patching, mitigates security risks and fixes vulnerabilities in minutes.
2-macOS patch management: Deploys and manages patches to all macOS endpoints from a single console.
3-Linux patch management: Provides on-demand and scheduled patch deployment of Linux-related security fixes.
If you’re looking for an affordable patch management solution that offers everything listed above, look no further; Patch Manager Plus offers all these features to help keep your network patched and secured, all from one, central location. This patch management tool is compatible with Windows, macOS, and Linux and offers a Free edition for up to 25 devices. In addition, it also provides server patch management to help keep data secure and up to date.
Server patch management involves testing and patching physical and virtual servers with little to no downtime. This free patch management software gives you access to all the essential features required to patch your systems. This patch management solution can secure your entire infrastructure.
Patch Manager Plus is available both as an on-premises and on-cloud solution. With remote jobs changing the way IT operates, you can perform patching on the go with Patch Manager Plus Cloud.
Manage Engine’s patch management solution to deploy software patches
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus follows these six steps in its patch management process: synchronizing, scanning, downloading, testing, deploying approved patches to their respective computers, and generating reports.
For details on each of these steps, simply keep reading:
Synchronization: All information about patches is collected from vendor sites and is fed into the patch database. This patch database is then synchronized with the Patch Manager Plus server.
Detect: The next step is to identify the computers that require these patches. Patch Manager Plus automatically scans the computers in the network to detect the missing patches.
Download: All missing patches are downloaded from vendor sites. This includes security updates, non-security updates, service packs, rollups, optional updates, and feature packs.
Test and approve: The downloaded patches are first tested in non-production machines (test groups). Deploying untested patches in a production environment can be risky – some patches and updates may lead to post-deployment problems like compatibility issues, which only make the admin’s job tougher if incompatible patches and updates require uninstallation. The patches are approved only if they cause no issues post-deployment.
Deployment: With flexible deployment policies, not only can you select the deployment window, but you can create patching policies as well. This patch management policy provides access to multiple deployment settings to help you decide when to deploy a patch and how.
Report: After successful deployment, reports are automatically generated and the information is sent to the server. It supports customized reports, which help you to filter data easily and share results with others in a variety of formats.
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