What is Patch Management Policy?

In simple IT terms, a patch management policy is a set of steps and duties for IT professionals to take and perform in order to maintain the security of a network’s environment and cushion the effects of existing IT vulnerabilities. To this end, a patch management system with its central dashboard and complete visibility into an organization’s software and other IT assets is viewed as a defining aspect in managing the patch management lifecycle.  

It is definitely worth noting that patch management itself consists of many IT practices, some of which have already proved their vitality in the context of IT security. Among them are automation, scheduling, testing, configurations, and other IT procedures. 

For instance, automated patch management significantly streamlines software and patch distribution and thus minimizes downtimes as well as maximizes IT performance by allowing system administrators to be fully concentrated on the cases that require their involvement. However simple it may sound, in reality, patch management can be quite a time-consuming process if IT specialists don’t have all the necessary tools providing them with opportunities to categorize workstations, set up patching strategies, schedule delivery windows, prioritize issues based on their seriousness. As you can see, organizing the patch management routine is not an easy task to accomplish.   

Another crucial feature of the patch management system is that the system is proactively scanning through a network’s software and endpoints, determining what patch needs to be updated. After receiving a respective notification, IT professionals decide when the patch is going to be deployed and to which workstations. Also, IT teams are the ones who hold accountability for ensuring that all the patches are properly deployed, and all the entailing procedures are documented according to an organization’s security patching policy. 

What are the best software patch management policy practices?  

With the business environment thriving online, there is a clear challenge that IT professionals have to face and tackle — a never-ending threat of potential cyber-attacks and breaches, not forgetting and excluding malware. This may account for the high demand for a remote monitoring and management software that could scale up IT performance in general and boost patch management in particular. 

Which practices are the best and must be part of the IT patch management routine? 

Proactively scan the inventory  

There’s nothing better than keeping your finger on the pulse of all the software within a network. By collecting relevant data, IT teams can act timely upon the information in their hands. 

Automate to stay up-to-date  

Automated patch management helps to keep a company’s IT infrastructure always up-to-date with all the available patches and updates delivered in a timely manner before IT vulnerabilities are exploited. 

Keep track of software inventory 

It’s far more productive to categorize all the deployed software patches and updates in just one place. Such a strategy helps IT professionals to optimize their software and patch distribution routine and reduce potential errors.  

Monitor configurations  

Software configurations are of high importance in maintaining a secure and stable IT environment. Listing them in the patch management system will certainly play a role in handling IT issues.. 

Keep a close eye on IT vulnerabilities 

Is there a better way of tackling challenges than being prepared for them in advance? An effective patch management tool can be a helping hand for IT teams in tracking vulnerabilities, analyzing them, and designing policies to act upon,  

Prioritize risks and their consequences 

There are so many things that might go awry, no matter how prepared your IT department may seem. That’s why it is also vital to picture potential threats and break them into different priority groups. What should be handled first? What are the costs? What are the consequences? Risk assessment goes a long way. 

Test before rolling out  

The complexity of the modern IT infrastructure requires much attention from IT specialists to deliver patches and updates. To do so, IT teams should always put things to the test first and only then deploy software patches knowingly.