Patch management involves installing code changes that fix security vulnerabilities or enhance software applications or systems. It includes acquiring patches, installing them, and testing the software and network for issues once the patch is installed.
Why it Matters to your customers
Software vendors often issue patches to correct security vulnerabilities. If the patch is not installed, the business network will remain at risk for an attack exploiting the vulnerability. In some cases, the end user may not be aware that patches have been released, and the system could become severely outdated from a security perspective over time.
Patches can also be issued to correct a performance problem, such as system crashes, which can cause decreased productivity and downtime. Installing these patches can improve efficiency when using the software, as well as extend the functionality of applications that are integrated with it.
Why patch management is an Opportunity
Patch management is a vital part of IT management, but end users often do not have the bandwidth or expertise to handle it. Although many patches are critical to security and performance, some are not necessary for a particular operation. End users need your expertise to make that determination, to ensure the network is backed up prior to work, and to adequately test following patch installation to ensure it will not negatively impact the application or the network.
In some cases, the number of patches a single business needs can be overwhelming. An automated patch management solution will help streamline the process, saving you time and resources. These solutions scan networks to determine if patches are required by communicating with agents on local computers, store and install patches on the computer, and retry if the patch installation fails. An automated solution will also provide you with reporting on patch status of all software.
Patch management is often bundled with other managed IT services or managed security services . When evaluating patch management solutions for ROI, consider them as preventative maintenance for both you and your client—efficient patch management can avoid larger, more costly issues from occurring in the future.