What is Automated Patching?

In: #patching

The easiest way to fix known vulnerabilities is through patching. The major challenges are often gaining approval from app owners and in executing the change approval process.

What is Automated Patching?

Patching could be difficult for firms that do not patch on a regular basis because the initial catch-up runs of patching tend to bring a high rate of change and have a major effect on applications. What may have been a series of small issues, encountered a month at a time, can turn into headaches when moved up 16-20 months.

Most firms start with blanket modifications, pre-approved for specific servers or for an attached spreadsheet list of servers. This results in difficulty in the change calendar because these changes are normally opaque when searching for change conflicts. 

As firms mature and start using more orchestrated or automated changes, it’s more common to openly link changes to individual network devices and services to restore the function of change calendars and conflict detection.

Automated Patching and Patch Management

There are premises that are outside of economic implications which draw attention to the significance of automated patch management procedures. Keeping systems informed about the newly released patches is no longer just a recommendation but a necessity. 

Staying updated on all the essential patches can turn into a routine task for your team. Luckily, automated patch management software allows them to shift their focus from tedious tasks, such as manually dealing with patches, to less labor-intensive and more exciting activities. 

How Does an Automated Patch Management Solution Work?

  • It scans the applications of devices for missing patches.
  • It is used to automate the different stages of the patching process.
  • It reports on the status of the automated patch management tasks.
  • It automatically deploys patches based on the deployment policies without any manual interference.
  • It automates the downloading of missing patches that are released by the application vendors.

With automated patch management, organizations are prepared to upgrade their endpoints with the newest patches regardless of what OS they run and where they are settled.

Why is Automated Patch Management Essential?

If you’ve never faced a security incident, you might not fully understand the true importance of the patch management process. However, ignoring the risks is never an option, as both small businesses and enterprises can be harmed due to non-existent or delayed patching. The following are why you should use automated patch management: 

It Increases Productivity

Regardless of having top-notch technology, computer crashes and malware attacks may still occur. This may lead to a reduction in productivity. Nevertheless, a patch reduces the possibility of downtime and crashes, thereby allowing employees to carry on with their tasks without any interruptions. 

It’s Safe and Secure 

Security is the reason for patch management. Generally, security breaches are caused by missing patches in operating systems and other applications. All-inclusive patch management can protect against vulnerabilities across OS and platforms. 

By safeguarding your systems before cybercriminals exploit the flaws, you stop breaches and avoid compliance issues and reputation damage that regularly accompany firms affected by cyber attacks. 

It Complies with the Latest Security Regulations

Cyber threats have become the norm; therefore, regulatory bodies are demanding that organizations apply the latest patches to prevent these attacks. Non-compliance may lead to your firm facing legal penalties. 

Therefore, a good automated patch management technique is needed to comply with these security regulations. An automated patch management solution will ensure your organization stays within compliance and that you’re offered a complete CVSS/SCVE audit trail.

It Offers an Overview of Business Environment

It’s ideal to stop using software that no longer offers technical support. On a regular basis, vendors stop providing patches for their software for different reasons: the company collapsed, they are working on a new version, or they are no longer producing bug fixes. Automated patching helps your organization to discover such software, so you know when to replace it with a new one. 

It Offers New Functionalities 

Contrary to popular belief, patches are not just about fixing flaws. With automated patching, you can tap into the latest innovations of the software. Businesses are always searching for new opportunities to enhance or extend their services. Therefore, a periodical routine of installing updates and addressing any existing issues must be established. 

Best Practices for Automated Patching

Patch management solutions can be linked with automation software to boost configuration and patch accuracy while reducing errors. The additional capabilities which automation offers can be linked to discovery, testing and patching systems, which reduce manual input.

The major function of automated patching is to approach the patching process in a positive and proactive way. Below are some major aspects that will help your organization boost patching efficiency and effectiveness.  

  1. Prioritize Patches Based on the Future Effect

Based on the patch rating and systems configuration, you need to decide on the systems that need the patch and how quickly they need to be patched to prevent any exploitation. 

  1. Identify Systems that are Unpatched or Vulnerable

Today’s IT systems present a challenge because most systems run lots of software titles. You can’t know what you need to patch until you know what you have, which includes server applications, desktop applications and OSs.

  1. Test Patches Before Using Them

As a network administrator or IT specialist, it’s ideal to test patches on a testbed that simulates your network before deploying a patch. All configurations and networks are different; therefore, you need to test for every combination and ensure your network can run the patch properly. 

  1. Patch Frequently 

Normally, patches are shipped once a month. Set a regularly scheduled routine every month to patch your systems. You can do it most efficiently within a single event or on the weekends, when systems aren’t likely to be used.


Photo by Eric Krull on Unsplash

Written by Kent Weigle

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