The patch management process is one of the core elements of an effective IT security policy. Small and Medium Businesses through to Enterprises run the risk of serious data security threats and non-compliance with data privacy regulations with end-of-life software patching.
Whenever software is released, best efforts are made to test for glitches and/or bugs. Attackers look for exploits and system vulnerabilities that aren’t identified before the initial release to gain access to sensitive data. Software developers create release updates—patches— to fix glitches and/or bugs that are identified.
To address the risks and costs of a security vulnerability, enterprises’ spendings on information security and risk management will grow 12.4% to a total value of $150.4 billion across the globe in 2021, according to Gartner.
In this article, you’ll learn about server patch management and its security benefits.
Server patch management is the process of regularly maintaining updates to operating systems (OS), third-party libraries, software, and applications. It involves identifying and fixing flaws in the software, releasing fixed packages, and verifying their installation. Server patch management is crucial to maintaining the security and stability of IT infrastructure.
With patch management software, you can automate every step of patch management and compliance, from detecting missing patches to updating endpoints. The software simplifies the entire patch management process through a central server for patch management. By centralizing patch management, you can deploy software patches from third parties along with server and infrastructure updates.
The importance of patch management may seem like an afterthought if you’ve never witnessed any security vulnerability. Yet, it can be very devastating when you finally encounter a vulnerability. By using automated patch management, companies can deploy patches regardless of their location or what operating system they are running. The following are a few reasons why you should consider automating patch management:
Today, most enterprises run dozens or even hundreds of different software applications, making them extremely difficult to manage. You can’t patch without knowing what you are patching.
That’s why you need to keep track of all system applications and configurations, ensuring you install the latest versions as soon as they’re available or identify vulnerable or obsolete applications.
A company’s systems contain a variety of applications, varying in their relevance or order of priority to the organization. You don’t want to be patching software that has little bearing on your application at a time when a core component needs an update. In addition to that, some applications require a complete reboot after patching.
By analyzing your patch rating and configuration, you can determine which systems require patches and set a rollout schedule on when to apply them.
In most cases, patches are readily available once a month or more. You’ll need to establish a routine and set a schedule for patching your systems regularly.
To do that, you can leverage automated server patch management software to help you apply schedule patch updates and system checks through your entire IT infrastructure.
Before applying patches to the production environment, it’s critical to test them first. Since every network and configuration is unique, you must test every possible combination, ensuring the patch works properly on your network(s).
How can you determine which patch management software is suitable for your business? It all depends on which features the best suit your needs. Patch management software requirements differ from one business to another, but there are a few necessary functionalities that the best patch management software should share. They include:
Attune is a comprehensive server automation solution that helps to provision, patch, configure, build, deploy, and manage applications across virtual or physical servers orchestrating the patch rollout to reduce or eliminate downtime. As part of its extensive features, Attune provides server patch management, security, and compliance with the flexibility to stop, start, restart, and migrate services. It provides several core features for managing your configurations and infrastructure across servers.
To learn more about server patch management, have a look at how to apply Linux patches to Docker Node.