What is Patch Management?
Patch management is essentially systems maintenance and compliance. To correct errors or vulnerabilities you use “patches.” If you do not stay up to date on software and hardware updates, you risk a digital threat or technology failure that can affect your business operations and often cause you to not meet compliance regulations.
Examples of patches are updates to your firmware, operating systems, and third-party software that secure your network, customer data, and intellectual property. A specific example of a common patch is an update to your Windows operating system which can be set to be automatic. However, a patch to one system can cause another application to not operate properly. This means automatic patches should not always be done. What Microsoft thinks is operating at a peak performance for Windows may weaken your business performance if their update causes one of your applications to fail. This example can also be used as to why your patch management should be managed by a team that understands your full information systems environment and your compliance needs.
Researchers from Automax report: Nearly 60% of data breaches in the past two years can be traced back to a missing operating system patch or application patch.
Why Does My Business Need So Many Patches?
Any software your business invests in already came with a cost. That fee you paid helped the software vendor cover the cost of creating the code for the software in the first place. But all code gets outdated, all code can have bugs, and all code can be made better. Software patches adjust programming code to right a wrong or make it better. They are trying to make their product the best it can be for you because they want you to keep using it. Doing this comes at a calculated cost to them so it is not done randomly or without necessity. Some of the main reasons your software patches are created and recommended include:
- Security – Securing something once does not mean it remains secure. Hackers are a real threat, and many try to find ways to exploit operating systems or other systems to break in, install spyware, or steal data.
- System Availability – Errors are frequently discovered within systems. Patches can prevent a system from crashing or functioning properly by removing the discovered error.
- Standards Compliance – All industry security standards get reviewed and require updates or proof of compliance such as HIPAA. Implementing a patch management strategy is often a requirement of a security standard.
- System Guarantees – You use a system with the assurance the system will perform and “do its job.” However, failing to keep up with the latest version and patches of software means a provider no longer can guarantee performance or even supply you with support.
- System Enhancements – Often updating a system means investing in an upgrade. However, feature improvements like the enhancement of a backend process are not typically issued as a full update but as a patch instead. Apply the patch, get a free update.
Even enterprise companies like Equifax and Target have lost a lot of money and customers because of exposing customer data because of delaying or ignoring patch management. It is truly never a good idea to ignore patches.
How Does Sanapptx in Dallas Manage Patch Management for Businesses?
Sanapptx first saves you time and money doing patch management so you and your inhouse team can focus on higher priorities. Our approach includes knowing of all available patches and which patches are right for what systems, creating and documenting a patch schedule, and thoroughly testing systems after patching is complete. We will, as necessary, automate patch management to streamline and improve the accuracy of these tasks. We are a Managed Services Provider (MSP) who will ensure:
- Patches are applied without downtime to staff using an automated patch management tool as appropriate
- Cross checking of update(s) success using a centralized patch management tool that includes execution status reporting
- A patch management system of important operating parameters is utilized including when a system is available for a patch run
- Patch management policies coordinate with business practices and system priorities including:
- Creation of separate profiles per device type and operating system – not all patches apply to all devices or should be run simultaneously
- Separate out systems that are critical such as patches applied to programs that require a system reboot
- Create a system preparation policy including a system restore point if a patch needs to be rolled back
- Create a regular window for patches where there is almost no user activity
- Work with the company to ensure that all devices are on as necessary
Overall, Sanapptx will manage your enterprise’s software and hardware updates while providing tailored metrics to ensure continuity and compliance needs.
Could have. Would have. Should have.
There are many proverbial sayings that apply to patch management and for good reason. Sometimes the most innocuous tasks are the ones that compromise your business because of waiting, neglect, or poor planning.
Do your company a favor and contact us about Sanapptx’s patch management services.