Do you use a patch management solution? If your network is like many others out there, you probably have half a dozen or more different Windows operating system versions, two to four different Office suites, and dozens more software applications scattered throughout the various workstations and servers on your network. You say to yourself every Patch Tuesday that this is the month you will finally get a handle on patching, but then find yourself overwhelmed and not even sure where to begin. Take heart; you are not alone. Like so many of your peers, you simply need a patch management solution.
A patch management solution can make short work of what can be a Herculean task, simplifying and automating patch management. With the ability to go beyond just the operating system and your Office suite, a good patch management solution can also take care of all those vulnerabilities that things like Windows Updates and WSUS cannot. Here are seven reasons why you need a patch management solution today:
- Deploy patches quickly and easily
Patching should be a regular process, not a time consuming one. A day to review, a day to test, and a day to deploy sounds about right for most situations, and a good patch management solution will let you accomplish that. Anyone that needs a week or more to do patching should find a patch management solution provides positive ROI as soon as it is installed.
- Patch third party applications
One of the best reasons to invest in a patch management solution instead of using free Microsoft tools is that patch management software can patch third party applications. PDF readers, media players, FTP clients, compression utilities; the nearly endless list of apps on your users’ desktops can present huge risks to your network, but are easily kept up-to-date with a patch management solution. No more all-nighters every time there’s an Adobe zero-day.
- Deploy third party applications
Speaking of third party applications, did you know that the better ones are multitaskers? They don’t just patch, they can deploy, and that means that when you have to roll out a new piece of software, your patch management solution can do it for you. No more sneaker net or trying to write logon scripts for every type of machine on your network.
- Can manage non-domain members
We all have machines that are not joined to a domain. They can be in the DMZ, special purpose, or just for testing, but all are beyond the reach of the GPOs that WSUS uses to get domain members patching. Patch management solutions can use agents or simply a local administrative account to patch and maintain all those DMZ machines as easily as it does the internal systems.
- Auditing and reporting
It’s not enough to take patching on faith; you have to be able to confirm all systems are up-to-date. You also need to be able to budget for upgrades for both hardware and software. Auditing and reporting can confirm patch levels; ensure that your license counts are accurate, and also let you know how many machines need a RAM upgrade before you can deploy the next version of your Line Of Business application.
- Remove unauthorized applications
Patch management solutions can also remove unauthorized software, making it easy to keep machines in a supported state, to remove software that a user installed without a valid license, to uninstall software from every machine before you push the upgrade, or when you decide not to renew.
- Vulnerability reporting
Patch management isn’t just about pushing or pulling software, it’s also about managing your risk. Good patch management software can perform vulnerability assessments as well, generating reports of all your systems so you know which patches are needed, and which are not, and so you have a full understanding of just what’s out there.
So make the next Patch Tuesday the one where this time you really do get a handle on your patching needs, take care of all those third party applications and start reporting up to management on all the great work you do. Your new patch management solution is just the thing to let you look at both patching and compliance as easy.
This guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more about the right patch management solution.
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