Out of the Dark Ages: 3 Ways Automated Patch Management Benefits Your Organization
This article originally appeared on automox.com
“In the dark ages.” That’s how I’d respond if you’d ask me to describe the current state of patch management. After all, it’s 2016, we have computers that fit in our pockets, we can splice and dice genomes, and AI and Skynet are just around the corner. Patch management on the other hand is a confused industry of outdated tools, complex scripting, and rampant incompatibility.
As an IT manager you have the daunting task of managing many different devices, platforms, operating systems, configurations, and locations. Multiply that by usage requirements, operational quirks, and security vulnerabilities that are unique to each device. It’s a full time job just to keep up with all of this, yet this is just one of many responsibilities you face.
A modern patch management platform should provide you advanced tools architected with automation at the heart of the system. Here are the top three benefits you’ll gain from a cloud-based automated patch management solution:
1. Greater situational awareness
Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend all the information available about your environment. Today’s over-engineered patch management tools make it extremely difficult to maintain situational awareness across an infrastructure that leverages a mix of Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. Each OS releases different patches, on different days, with varying levels of severity. It is a challenge to process each patch and understand the severity, side-effects, and relevance of each of them to your organization. It is a wonder anyone can keep up at all. Yet the dirty secret is that most of us are just hoping that we don’t get caught by surprise with a security breach, data loss, or worse due to an unpatched system.
Automated patch management solves this by keeping a real-time inventory of installed software on all endpoints across your organization. Vendor and OS patches are automatically retrieved and applied at regular intervals and installed software is cross-referenced against the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database. No more searching for needles in haystacks or being caught off guard. Automated patch management and inventory provides you with superior situational awareness while maintaining organizational compliance and operational security.
2. Eliminate scripting
Another patch management tool, another scripting language, another learning curve. Why can’t there be a single tool with a standardized scripting language to solve patch management once and for all? Yet, for all their lofty promises, these tools end up relying on extensive scripting to get anything useful done. Not only does scripting delay the time-to-value, but scripts often become complex and difficult to debug due to many unanticipated edge cases that you didn’t anticipate.
Adding automation to the patch management process eliminates the scripting requirement. An automated patch management platform has a deep understanding of the patching process, software distribution, and software installation requirements for each endpoint configuration. These platforms leverage tools and databases native to each endpoint and are able to manage the patching process out of the box. No need to reinvent the wheel with scripts. Leverage the expertise of automated systems and solve your patch management problem once and for all.
3. Automated evaluation and remediation
Does it ever seem that your organization is most compliant on weekends and holidays when users aren’t using their devices? If only we could prevent the users from actually touching their devices! Having to repeatedly support a user that accidentally deletes their printer driver for the tenth time, installs bandwidth hogging torrent apps, or refuses to use the office suite your company has legally purchased and rolled out to the users is insanity!
Automation ends this reactive whack-a-mole IT management insanity. With a policy-based endpoint management platform you simply specify a set of patches and software that apply to an endpoint. Regular scans of the endpoint are checked against your set specification. If any of the patches or pieces of software are missing they are automatically restored to the endpoint. Automated self-healing. It’s that simple. No more babysitting end users and their endpoints.
Greater situational awareness, automated scripting, and the self-healing nature of an automated endpoint management platform provides IT organizations a significant advantage in maintaining a consistent security posture and meeting regulatory requirements.
Looking for all this capability in a single cloud-based platform? Look no further than Automox. Architected as the only cross platform, cloud-based patch management solution, Automox enables IT managers to gain complete control over their patching, management, and inventory without the need for traditional bulky, server-based, on-prem solutions.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of automating patch management? Sign up now, and start managing all of your endpoints from the cloud today!