What is patch management software? It is a system that scans and manages patches in a network to ensure it is secure against malware and hacking. This is because it detects weak and susceptible infrastructures in software application and operations systems that compromise your network’s security. Besides, it approves or restricts patches used on PCs, servers, laptops and other mobile devices. It ensures all patches are properly installed and tests them after installation.
Who is Patch Management Software Designed for?
Patch Management software is for any entrepreneur who wants efficient network management, easy management of updates and a secure network. Both large and small businesses can use it. The larger the company, the more essential it is to have this software.
Advantages of Patch Management
Security comes first because it is the most obvious benefit. Using a patch at the right time will eliminate security breaches of all types.
Another benefit of this automated software is reduced downtime. Usually, patches have performance improvements for products they fix crashes. This helps your employees increase productivity.
The technology world is quickly advancing. Having automated software in place keeps you up with the latest updates without you doing much about it.
Choosing the Best Patch Management Software for your Company
Operating system, platform, and application
An operating system, platform, and application are vital to patch management. You don’t want to purchase a product that can’t support all your platforms. As much as possible, compare and choose that supports platforms deployed in your business.
Do you want patch management that includes support for mobile devices? So far no single management tool offers support for conventional PCs, server, and mobile devices.
Integration with other management systems
This is another crucial factor to put into consideration. It ensures cooperation and integration with your infrastructure management software.
One of the best framework-based configuration, monitoring, and management tool is Microsoft SCCM. Top patch management tools such as Quest KACE and HEAT PatchLink integrate with SCCM via plugins. This allows IT experts to perform patch management from SCCM admin console.
If you are considering purchasing one of the above management tools just because it integrates with SCCM, it is important to understand how that integration works. It helps verify your needs. Some tools integrate through data exportation and importation at the same time supporting a direct connection to SCCM database.
Additional Features and customer support
Other factors to consider are additional features like physical desktops and servers, virtual desktops and servers, cloud-based computers and vendor support.
Well, it is difficult to gauge a vendor’s support mechanism. But you can use their online chat, call their support line during a proof of concept for authorization or post question in their support forum. How responsive is the support staff? Be sure to talk with the support team rather than sales personnel.
If cost is your primary consideration, there is a wide range of patch management software that can suit any budget. It is expected that framework-based patch management tools like those included in Microsoft System Center to be expensive. This may not be the case; it depends on your Microsoft licensing scheme.
For instance, Microsoft System Center patch management services can be in a more extensive suite that addresses different system management aspects. This means if your business has an enterprise licensing agreement with an organization like Microsoft or Heat, you can start using the patch management capabilities of those products for little or no extra licensing cost.
Unlike cost and features, performance is the best metric for comparing and choosing patch management tools. All vendors will tell you their patch management software is high performance. The best way to know if that is true is by testing your preferred tools in your IT environment.
Factors such as applications on the PC to be patched and network bandwidth and utilization can affect the perceived performance. This is where a software’s free trial version comes in handy. Most vendors provide a free trial of their management software.
Top 3 Patch Management Software in 2018
- SolarWinds Patch Manager
SolarWinds is a very intuitive software with many outstanding features. It enhances automated Microsoft servers patching, workstations, and third-party applications. Some of the third-party applications supported include VLC, adobe, UltraVNC/ Realvnc, Citrix, Apple, Dell, Google, and Apache…just to name a few.
The software also integrates with SCCM and WSUS directly. This helps you analyze and install updates to many applications, vendors, and systems. You can also build your own. EXE or .MSI files to set up within your network.
Another benefit of this software is its dashboard. You can track all your patches as well as check update status on a single panel. This keeps you updated with compliance and auditors.
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is another intrusive patch management tool that keeps your network secure and patched. It is an endpoint software that patches all your computers at the same time from one point of a console.
This software comes with a ban list feature that removes any software added to the ban list from any detected device.
Some options offered include:
- Patch compliance
- Approve or decline patches depending on priority and severity
- Implementation of test groups of your computers
- Real-time audits
- GFI LanGuard
GFI LanGuard is another top solution for your patch management needs. It offers not only essential platform updates but also Android, iOS and Windows Phone. Moreover, it is a robust system with numerous scanning capabilities and configuration options. It conducts more than 60,000 vulnerability assessments thanks to industrial strength vulnerabilities database integrating SANS Top 20 standards and OVA. This makes sure your devices and network are kept up to date with the latest updates and patches.
It comes with features such as:
- Intuitive reporting console
- Antivirus patch management
- Ability to view security issues within your network
Planning and coming up with a requirement list will help identify the best patch management software for you. Remember to use the above-discussed factors. Implementing the right tool in your business gives you peace of mind knowing your business’s data, users and platforms are secure.