Patch management plays a crucial role in the security of any business enterprise. Insufficient patch management can leave a business system vulnerable to security breaches and attacks. Automated patch management is a viable solution because it can secure your network and frees IT administrates from mundane activities so they can focus on other support areas the improve the bottom line. A look at the most important factors to consider when choosing patch management software can maximize the effectiveness of your IT service desk.
What are the Two Main Types of Patch Management Software?
The two types of patch management software are on-premise patch management software and cloud-based patch management software. On-premise software uses a customer-based or local environment. Cloud software monitors and manages applications directly from a central server. Top-tier patch software programs operate equally well in both types of environments. For example, an ITSM program like SysAid patch management software works for both on-premise and cloud-based solutions.
What are the Essential Features of Good Patch Management Software?
Due to a range of options available, IT administrators may initially feel undecided on which software system best suits their business needs. The key features to consider when choosing a patch management software program can help ensure that your business infrastructure remains secure against attacks, exploits, viruses, or ransomware.
A patch management software program should feature an intuitive dashboard that offers timely, comprehensive, and detailed information about patch and security status. It should also provide regular updates on endpoint systems, connected devices, and application software on them. A dashboard that fails to display in real-time or allow you to view full details on patches would be useless to system administrators and leave the system vulnerable to attacks (as seen with the spree of ransomware attacks that have recently rocked companies across the globe).
Patch management software programs are usually part of a bundle of tools in an IT service desk program or IT asset management. Therefore, patch management should integrate with existing applications. It should not slow down the overall performance of the system or necessary third-party applications. For example, a good system might integrate with the help desk itself, popular Microsoft products, and other third-party applications like Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, or Apple iTunes. Seamless integration may also decrease the cybersecurity risk of hackers exploiting an unpatched system.
In addition to an automated patching process, a patch management service should have an auditing system in place to ensure documentation of patches and updates. Keeping a real-time record of patch deployment can help administrators ensure that the patch integration has been performed correctly are compliant with internal or external security standards. With the ever-evolving nature of security vulnerabilities, it is important to have a change management auditing process to quickly identify the source and history of a problem before it spirals out of control.
4. Easy of Use
All patch management solutions should feature an easy setup and ease of use. Companies with administrators who are newcomers to the field will have a much easier time manoeuvring the program if displays are intuitive and easy to use. Seasoned professionals can also benefit from easy operation and setup as it helps these employees perform tasks more efficiently. Whether experienced users need to manually fix a patch or set up automatic monitoring and go, an easy-to-use system frees professionals to use their time and skills on more profitable tasks. Removing the burden of complex patch management can also increase productivity by reducing labor hours and allowing the company to make the most of previously installed network programs.
While the best patch management solutions can be highly intricate in their capabilities, they are also largely unobtrusive to business operations. These programs disrupt neither business production nor end-user activities. Highly configurable, sophisticated patch management systems also allow you to customize patch deployment and upgrades as needed. For example, you may configure a system to postpone or reschedule patch installation based on network or business activities.
The best patch management software programs feature adaptions that anticipate increasingly security threats from external sources. Gone are the days in which hackers primarily targeting major operating systems like Macintosh and Windows. Instead, hackers have developed new methods to exploit security vulnerabilities to exploit vulnerabilities in systems like Linux or software like Tor. Even worse, hackers have also learned to exploit the most common, automatic third-party applications like Adobe Acrobat and QuickTime. Research has found that most security vulnerabilities and attacks now come through third-party applications. Therefore, it is best to adopt a patch system that integrates fully with third-party application and provides real-time reports on protecting your enterprise from harm.
7. Wide-Scale and Comprehensive Scanning
One of the most important aspects of a good patch management system is the ability to scan in-depth and scale. Comprehensive scanning allows the system to quickly identify and fix missing patches. Scalable solutions allow you to keep even the most complex network architecture protected. Also known as "smart" or "intelligent" scanning, it is an expedient solution to keeping your networks updated at all times.
8. Detailed Presentation and Reporting
A final step to choosing the best patch management software is to ensure that it offers detailed reporting. While auditing provides a review and record of patch execution, presentation and reporting include an immediate overview of active and relevant patches, a progress report on patch deployment, and a final report on the end result. This measured reporting process can help administrators make informed business decisions for the network. Administrators can then store these individual reports so that management can see the big picture during a system audit or quarterly review.
Choosing the right patch management software is critical to protecting both small and large-scale enterprises. When selecting software, an enterprise should consider strengths in vulnerability assessment and patching capabilities. A patch management add-on solution puts you back in control against cyber-crime by providing the best security for your business or organization.
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