The task of locating, obtaining, testing, and installing patches—or changes to the code—meant to address problems, plug security gaps, or add features—is referred to as patch management.
Patch management includes keeping updated on new patches, selecting the ones required for specific software and hardware, testing the patches, confirming their correct installation, and documenting the procedure. A patch ensures that none of your assets are vulnerable to exploitation.
This thorough guide outlines the complete patch management procedure and its function in IT management and security. The links take you to in-depth publications on the finest patch management best practices, tools, and services.
Importance of Patch Management
Patch managers are crucial for the reasons listed below:
Security: Patch management eliminates cyberattack-prone flaws in your software and apps, lowering the security risk for your company.
System uptime: Patch management helps maintain system uptime by ensuring that your programmes are updated and working properly.
Compliance: Due to the ongoing increase in cyberattacks, regulatory agencies often demand that organizations maintain a specific degree of compliance. Patch management is a critical component of adhering to compliance regulations.
Feature improvements: Patch management can include feature/functionality updates in addition to just fixing software bugs.
How does patch management work?
Depending on whether a patch is being applied to standalone systems or systems connected to a corporate network, patch management operates differently. The operating system and programs will routinely do automatic checks to see if patches are available on a solo system. Normally, new patches will be downloaded and installed without user intervention.
Instead of allowing each computer to download its own patches, organizations in networked environments typically employ centralized patch management to ensure uniformity in software versions across computers. A central server is used in centralized patch management to scan the network hardware for missing patches, download those patches, and then distribute them to the PCs and other networked devices in accordance with the patch management strategy of the organization.
A centralized patch management server allows the company some degree of control over the patch management procedure in addition to automating patch management. For instance, if a specific patch is found to be harmful, the company can modify its patch management software to stop it from being applied.
Centralized patch management also helps save internet bandwidth, which is another benefit. Allowing every machine in an organization to get the same patch defeats the purpose of sharing bandwidth. Instead, all the computers that can download to receive the patch can receive it from the patch management server, which can download it once.
Although many businesses undertake patch management on their own, some managed service providers also offer their clients other network management services in addition to patch management. The significant administrative burdens of performing the work internally can be reduced with patch management.
Benefits of patch management
Patches, which are periodically released by the majority of major software vendors, have three main functions:
- Patches are sometimes used to fix security flaws. When a software provider finds a security flaw in one of its products, it normally releases a patch to fix the problem. Because hackers and malware creators are aware of the security flaws a patch is intended to fix and actively search for unpatched systems, it is crucial for organizations to implement security patches as quickly as possible.
- Patches can resolve flaws, enhancing the stability of the software and getting rid of bothersome issues.
- Patches are occasionally released by vendors to add new functionality. The prevalence of cloud software that is available via subscription has led to an increase in feature updates.
Patch Management Best Practices
The following considerations should be kept in mind when implementing patch management:Keep clear expectations and hold teams responsible.
Utilizing organizational agreements, such as service-level agreements, may control teams and guarantee that the task of minimizing risk is being completed.Work closely with technical teams to stay on the same page.
Software errors are sometimes referred to as "risks" by security teams, although a "patch" may be used by IT/DevOps teams. A good patch management technique relies on everyone understanding the importance of patching and being on the same page.Create a disaster recovery plan.
Having a backup plan is usually a smart idea in case your patch management procedure fails and causes problems.
Choose the ideal patch management software - Conclusion
Both on-premises and cloud deployment options are provided by numerous companies for patch management tools. While some vendors specialize in patch management, the majority offer it as part of a larger selection of endpoint management, security, and compliance, or IT systems management technologies.
Exploit protection, advanced threat hunting, and endpoint management are all included in our Xcitium unified endpoint solution. You can automate and simplify Windows patch administration using the Xcitium Patch administration program. Visit for more.
A: One of the best practices for patch management is advised to set a patching schedule for 1 - 3 months. The best way to patch systems is to perform it during weekends.
A: Numerous threats develop over improper utilization of patch management. Some of those threats involve security vulnerability, lost data, violation of regulation compliance, risk to customer data safety, and phishing.
A: The most organization finds patch management a challenge because multiple 3rd party application and operating systems are being run within their infrastructure. The IT and security department finds a challenge to identify systems that needs to be updated and properly patched up out of those which are already patched.