How many different software platforms and apps does your team use? Chances are it’s a lot more than one.
With that number of software platforms used daily, network and system updates can take up time. That’s why smart IT teams use patch management software.
Patch management software can keep all of your network and system updates in order. It’s much easier to meet your team’s IT needs when you know when update and patch downtime will occur. That’s why it’s important to use patch management software and to have a patch management policy in place.
Today, we’re going to dive into everything around patch management. We’ll talk a little bit about what it is and how to do it effectively. Next, we’ll dive into some of the major features of good patch management software. We’ll also cover the details of a solid patch management policy.
Finally, we’ll discuss which patch management software platform is the best option for you and your team. By the end of this article, you’ll be your office’s resident patch management expert.
But, we have a lot of information to cover. Get your pen and pencil ready because school is now in session.
So, what is patch management? Well, a patch is a snippet of code that’s designed to fix a bug in a particular software platform. All software platforms are constantly growing and evolving. As they evolve, issues are fixed, and new issues emerge.
There are also additional features that get added based on customer feedback, new API integrations, etc. Patch management is a system for regularly applying and deploying these patches. Patch management helps keep IT teams running up-to-date.
One of the best ways to maximize your IT team’s efficiency is to automate tasks that need to be done over and over again. This applies to updating software and network infrastructure, as well.
Human error is one of the enemies of IT procedures. Using a software platform to manage system patches helps to minimize the occurrence of human errors in your IT team’s overall data management plan.
A patch management software platform can help you and your team automate all of your regularly occurring patch management tasks. The platform can detect missing patches, as well as install patches when they are ready for deployment.
These patch updates can even be scheduled to fit around your team’s busy and slow times. The result is your team’s now able to maximize uptime and minimize downtime.
Now, you might be saying, “what’s the big deal if we miss a few updates here and there”? Well, it can be a huge deal. A lot of patches help to increase your system’s security.
If you miss a particular update, it can leave your system exposed to the newest type of hacking malware or phishing techniques. This is especially true because as soon as a new security update is released, there are hackers out there already trying to maneuver a way around it.
As a result, it’s important that security patches and updates be deployed as soon as they become available.
If you’re running an IT estate at the corporate level, it can be challenging, if not impossible, to manually monitor all of your updates and patches. Even if you’re at a level where it’s not difficult, it still becomes dangerous to monitor manually.
Human error is the enemy of IT. Now, we’re not saying people are bad. It’s better to have your team doing more high-level, important tasks.
Even if they’re more than capable of monitoring your software patches, automate the process anyway. It will reduce human error in an important task related to cybersecurity. And, it will free up smart, talented team members to focus on what they do best.
Also, these software patches should be immediately installed in your system. Any delay can give cybercriminals an opportunity to pounce.
Let a management platform implement the patches without delay and with no exposure points in your system.
So, what should you look for when shopping for patch management software? The key is for the platform to make your IT team’s life a lot easier. But, with that being said, there are a few key features that will help accomplish that.
Let’s take a look at them below.
When you institute a solid patch management platform, you should see management performance improve shortly after implementation. This is where KPIs are very important.
You need to have a handful of key metrics you can view at a glance to see how your system is performing. Knowing these numbers allows you to assess if your digital presence is being managed properly.
If your IT team is already performing well, you should see opportunities for optimization that will help your bottom line. If your IT team is being poorly managed, or you’ve just recently been hired on to save a failing IT system, your patch management software should help you solve the problem.
To do this properly, your patch management software will have to rely on another key feature.
Automation might be the most important factor when it comes to selecting patch management software. Yes, most patch management software platforms automate, but you need to make sure the platform you select has the capability of very high-level automation and customization.
We talked about KPIs shortly in the last section. They are very important when it comes to automation as well.
Every business is different. Every IT team may have different metrics they’re trying to optimize. That’s why it’s important to select patch management software with a customizable dashboard. This way, you can quickly view whichever KPIs are most important to you.
Once you have your KPIs dialed in, automation becomes much easier. When you’re looking at all of your KPIs in one easy-to-view dashboard, managing and optimizing your patches becomes easy.
You’ll be able to easily see what’s working and what isn’t. Your platform should also allow you to easily schedule and view when patches are occurring. In fact, if you’re using a more complex system, it should be able to leverage AI to deploy a patch at the best time for your business.
We’ve already discussed what delays can do for your system. That’s why it’s important to have your patch management software running in real-time. All updates, notifications, and other important data should be relayed to the system without any delay.
This includes user status, number of active users, SQL servers, MS Exchange updates, system resources, VMware, and Hyper-V data.
As an IT manager, you should have the ability to access the system dashboard remotely. IT and data infrastructure are rapidly becoming the most important part of a business’ infrastructure. As a result, companies’ IT estates and IT facilities are growing by leaps and bounds.
Any time you have to travel from data center to data center is just another opportunity for delays in patch, and system update installs. And those delays turn into opportunities for hackers to breach the system.
Breaches can be disastrous for your operation. All customers like to feel their data is safe with the companies they use. Still, a breach can be especially problematic in certain industries—especially an industry like healthcare where all of that data falls under federal HIPAA jurisdiction.
So, which is the best patch management software on the market? The truth is, it depends on what the demands of your business are. It also depends on what operating system your company is running.
The best option is also going to depend on who you talk to. According to the software rating site g2.com, the best options are either Atera or NinjaRMM. These two options both came in with a 95 and 93 out of 100, respectively, on G2’s scoring system.
The software platforms were rated on several different categories, including ease of use, ease of setup, quality of support, and actual user feedback.
Choosing patch management software doesn’t have to be hard. Consider this article your guide to making the best decision for you and your team. Look for the features we mention above, or if that takes too much time, choose one of the two options we mentioned above.
If you have any other IT questions or would like to talk to NetDepot about the services we can offer you, contact us today. We are always here to help you with all of your data management needs.