5 Reasons Patch Management is Most Effective in the Cloud

This article originally appeared on automox.com

Chances are if you have found your way to this post you are likely fed up with the traditional methods of deploying and maintaining endpoints. I am using “traditional” loosely, as I know that for many of you traditional endpoint management has been simply to do nothing at all, or turning on auto updates and hoping for the best. This approach, while risky, can work for small organizations, but for the majority of successful enterprises, there is simply too much at stake.

So what should you be looking for in cloud-based endpoint management platform?

I spent the better part of a year looking at solutions in the market and talking with SMB and enterprise customers about how they managed, maintained, and secured their endpoints. They all wanted to do more, they all knew they needed to do more…but the reality is that without dedicated staff and dedicated budget, the best these IT teams could offer their organizations was auto updates and the promise of quick reaction times. As much as they wanted the large enterprise-class solutions, they were too complex and too expensive.

Cloud-based EPM solutions are the way to go.

Instant time to value & Massively Scalable

Most EPM solutions in the market work on a single OS and only within your corporate firewall. Let’s say you found one you want to try. First you’ll need to call a sales person. Once you offered up your budget, timeframe, number of endpoints, and your first born child, you’ll get a demo. Great! Now you have to provision a few servers, install the software, get some help configuring the system…next thing you know, three to four months have passed by, and you have yet to see any value.

One of the great advantages of a SaaS-based EPM solution is ease and simplicity of trying the product on your own. No salesperson, no boss approval, no servers…and no risk. Low friction evaluation allows you to try many systems at once, test the vendor’s support capabilities, and give your team valuable “stick time” on a number of products. You can be patching and managing endpoints within minutes, and can scale your EPM infrastructure effortlessly.

Native Cross Platform Support

There are a few good EPM solutions if you only use Windows or only use Mac. If you use both and also have to support some of the many shades of Linux, you are going to need at least three different solutions. Yes that’s right, three solutions to do one task — each different in its own quirky way. Supporting servers, VMs, or containers in the cloud? Add a few more tools to the list. The point here is simple. You shouldn’t have to spend the time, money, and resources managing multiple solutions to the same problem. Your EPM solution should reflect the diversity of your infrastructure as well as how your users work.

No Vendor Lock-in

This goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway. If you use a solution today and you can’t change it…you are locked in, and that sucks. The bigger, more complex and expensive a solution is, and the more approvals you need to get for it internally…the more you are going to be locked into said vendor. Cloud-based EPM solutions are the antithesis of traditional EPM solutions. They allow you to easily initiate (usually within minutes) and scale your EPM solution (up or down) as your business demands dictate and you’re never locked in.

Inline with your cloud first strategy

Many of you are already aggressively pursuing a cloud-first strategy that allows you to not only deliver your critical applications from the cloud, but also leverages cloud based tools to manage your cloud infrastructure.

Unfortunately, when you look at established EPM solutions, they are all on-premises. You need a server (usually Windows) or two if you want redundancy. That server lives inside your firewall, handles a pre-set number of endpoints, and works great for employees that are in the office on a regular basis — but does nothing to support your increasingly mobile workforce.

VPN!? Did you really just say that? Yes, you could setup a VPN for all those remote employees… but let’s face it, IT gets enough flak as it is and do you really want to set up and maintain a VPN on top of everything else? Ok enough said. Simply having a solution that works where your employees work is critical, Only a cloud-based EPM solution can meet that critical requirement.

Geographic independence / Global Inventory

If you have a geographically dispersed workforce and/or server infrastructure resident in multiple clouds and various different physical locations, knowing what is where can be a huge pain in the ass. And knowing what is on each system is close to impossible. Traditional EPM solutions become exponentially more difficult to implement when you have to spread them across different geographies, domains, clouds etc. What happens if a user requires a critical patch and is at a Starbucks in Singapore? Cloud-based EPM solutions allow you to enforce endpoint patching and security policies consistently and wherever you users are located.

Making sure every endpoint and every software you deploy is 100% patched, 100% of the time is essential to maintaining your operational security. We built Automox for this very purpose. You can start identifying and patching endpoints in the time it took to read this blog post.