What Is Patch Management?
More than 60 percent of small businesses get hacked every year, and hackers are finding new ways to break into computer systems every day. As cyber threats become an increasingly pressing issue, proper network security is more vital than ever to mitigate the risk of a data breach and maintain your customers’ confidence in your brand.
Many companies are taking additional security measures to lower their risk of vulnerabilities — including patch management. Patch management has often been largely ignored as part of data security, but its importance and the benefits it can provide shouldn’t be overlooked.
Not sure if patch management is the right choice for your business? We’re here to give you a look at what exactly the process is, why patch management is important and the applications of patch management in your business.
What Is Patch Management?
To understand patch management, you’ll first need to understand what a patch is. A patch is simply a piece of code that improves a program already installed into your system — basically a bandage for computer software. Once a bug is discovered in an already-released program, a patch is created to correct the issue without the need to re-create the program altogether.
Patches can apply to nearly every facet of your infrastructure, including operating systems, desktops, routers, servers, office software and many other areas. With all these different aspects to maintain, the sheer number of required patches to keep your system up-to-date can quickly become too much for you to handle on your own. Patch management — as the name implies — allows you to manage these patches better and keep your infrastructure up-to-date and protected from threats.
In patch management, a person or device looks for system patches, decides whether they’re needed and makes sure they’re installed and implemented smoothly. By promptly installing all of the necessary patches, you can reduce the likelihood of system crashes and security breaches. This process can be performed by IT staff, but many companies prefer to outsource their patch management to allow their IT admins to focus on less time-consuming and tedious tasks.
Importance of Patch Management
Now that you know what patch management is, you might still wonder why the process is necessary — especially if you’ve never faced a security threat or system failure in the past. Patch management, however, provides a host of benefits for small and large businesses alike, and the risks of not performing regular patch management services are too significant to ignore.
Some of the vital benefits of proper patch management include:
- Security: The most critical and obvious benefit of patch management is heightened network security. Patches are often created after a company has experienced a data breach to ensure other businesses’ data remains safe, and applying a patch as quickly as possible lessens the risk of your business becoming affected. By securing your network before hackers exploit a program’s security vulnerabilities, you can avoid the data theft, legal issues and lasting reputation damage that often follows a security breach.
- Productivity: Have you or your employees ever had to stop work because of a computer crash or network error? This is often due to bugs in your system, and it’s more than just a minor inconvenience — it’s a waste of time and labor hours. A patched system is an efficient one, as it helps you get the most out of your programs and reduce downtime. A single patch can lead to a considerable boost in network productivity, and an entire patch management system can transform the efficiency of your entire company.
- Compliance: With the increase in security breaches has come increased regulations that require companies in many industries to follow security best practices. Government institutions, healthcare services and financial sectors are among the most heavily regulated, but other industries are rapidly creating their own security compliance rules and guidelines. Failure to comply could potentially result in legal penalties for your business. Patch management ensures you stay within compliance of these standards.
- Remote protection: More businesses than ever are encouraging at least part-time remote employment — in fact, around 70 percent of workers around the world work remote at least one day a week. So how do you protect the data stored at your employee’s homes or on mobile devices? Patch management programs can be implemented as part of a remote workforce support solution to protect all of your company’s devices, no matter where in the world they’re located.
- Innovation: Technology is moving quickly. It seems that just as soon as developers introduce one feature, a newer, better one comes along to take its place. But patches — which usually contain new features and functionality — allow you to keep up with the latest technological innovations and improve your services without the need to buy entirely new software.
Patch Management Applications
Patch management is a great way to keep your infrastructure up-to-date and free of bugs and security risks, but without the right tools in place, it can be unnecessarily time-consuming for staff to look for and install patches. Patch management software and patch management as a service allow you to easily implement the practice into your business without the need for inefficient manual efforts.
Patch management as a service offers patch management over the internet on a subscription basis. This cloud-based model uses leading tools and technology to continually search for and install patches throughout your network, and it can be accessed online even in remote applications.
Similarly, patch management software automatically searches for and installs patches to your infrastructure. This service is locally installed and runs on a computer network.
Trust Consolidated Technologies, Inc. for Your Patch Management
At Consolidated Technologies, Inc., we have over 20 years of experience providing exceptional IT management services to more than 2,000 companies worldwide. We understand the importance of patch management in easing your security concerns and increasing your business’ productivity, and our expert team will help you ensure your infrastructure is up-to-date and safe from pressing security concerns.
Contact us today for more information on our array of IT services or to request a free consultation and demo.