Updating your operating system software can be a tedious and sometimes scary process. It is, however, a necessary one. Patches are essential to ensuring that your software updates go as smoothly and efficiently as possible. They are also the key to successful security measures.

What is Patch Management?

Patch Management is the process which safely distributes and applies necessary updates to software.   The patches themselves are implemented to correct errors, vulnerabilities, or bugs that may be present in the software. Properly managing these patches within your operating systems can help fight cyber attacks, ensure that your systems are running properly, ensure standards compliance, and implement any available feature improvements for your software. This equates to better security, happier users, product innovation, and less risk for fines due to software non-compliance.

That being said, the process of managing these patches is just as critical as applying the patches themselves. Installing patches the moment they become available has the potential to cause more issues than the bugs they were created to fix. Adopting effective patch management practices is essential to ensuring your updates are done at the right time, and as efficiently as possible.

Best Patch Management Practices

By creating a strategic organized process, your patches can be more cost-effective and security-driven. Here is an outline for the best patch management practices:

1.Create and Consolidate an Up-To-Date Software Inventory

Having an up-to-date software inventory can help you determine which patches are most needed for your software. It also allows you to remain standardized and current, even with multiple types of software throughout your workstations.

2. Create a Patch Management Policy

Having a patch management policy in place is crucial for effective patching. This policy should include:

    1. Defined assessment schedule

    2. Categorization of your patches (based on users, devices, and applications)

    3. Priority of your integrations

3. Assess and Assign Risk Levels of Patches

Once you have created your inventory, you can more easily assess your risk level(s), better prioritizing which patches take precedent.

1. Monitor Vendor Announcements

Keeping up with your software manufacturers’ updates is necessary to staying on top of vulnerabilities and knowing how to correct them.

2. Anticipate Exceptions

If software has been exposed to attacks, alterations may need to be performed before the patch can be successful. Anticipate this to happen, and be prepared.

3. Test Patches

Creating a replication of your systems for testing purposes could be the difference of an unforeseen exposure. It also allows you to make corrections as necessary before going live with a patch.

4. Create Backups as Needed

Backing up your systems should always be included in your procedures. Having a backup can make all the difference for attacks or updates gone wrong.

Applying The Patches

Once you have properly gone through your patch management process, then it’s time to proceed in applying the patch. You can enjoy knowing that the right updates to your operations systems will have things working more efficiently and effectively than before. Remember to always document each patch, notating any issues or successes for next time. And always, make sure to update your inventory list.

HazeyTech understands that patch management is an essential part of security. They also understand how sensitive the process can be. With our flawless patch management processes and experience, your company can relax knowing they are in good hands. Check us out today to see how we can smooth out this process.

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