What Is Patch Management? (+Choosing the Right Software)

Mara Calvello
Mara Calvello  |  August 28, 2019

Portable smartphone chargers. Automatic pet feeders. Rubber wine glasses.

Some things are just designed to make our life easier. Something else you can add to that list? Patch management: an effortless and automatic way to keep our programs updated while increasing our cyber security efforts.

If you’re interested in learning more about patch management and how to pick the right software for your company, keep reading!

What is patch management?

Patch management is a process that is in place to manage updates or code changes for software applications on a computer and other technologies. A patch is a piece of code that improves a program that is already installed in your system.

Patching applies to both hardware and software.

When a software vendor releases a patch to fix any vulnerability, these patches can either be handled and run manually or conducted automatically using patch management software. When these updates are promptly installed, the likelihood of a data breach or a crash in the system is reduced.

Patch Management Process

Patch management software

Patch management software is used to make sure that the programs and equipment your company is using are consistently up to date and operating how they should. Patch management tools work by tracking updates within the software and middleware solutions. They then alert users of any necessary updates that need to be manually executed or run automatically.

If your company is unsure of which patch management software is right for its needs, check out this list, brought to you by G2. To be included in this category, these software tools must:

  • Maintain a database of software, middleware, and hardware updates.
  • Alert users of new updates or run these updates automatically.
  • Inform administrators of endpoints and users utilizing out-of-date software.

Find the best Patch Management Software on the market. Explore Now, Free →

Why is patch management important?

With the number of ransomware attacks increasing each day, patch management helps stop them in their tracks. When you use multiple servers and computers, ensuring they’re running on the latest update can be time consuming and trying to do so manually can not only cause a headache but could also leave your business at risk for a cyber attack.

Beyond that, there are many reasons why patch management is necessary for your business:

  • Security: A patch management tool works hard to heighten your network security efforts. Patches are typically created after a company experiences a data breach as a way to ensure data security going forward. When you use patch management and secure your network before hackers exploit these vulnerabilities, you’ll avoid any type of issues with a security breach.
  • Productivity: Nothing brings productivity to a complete halt like a computer crash or a network error, which are typically caused by a bug in the system. This can result in wasted time and labor hours. When your system runs on patch management, it’s more efficient, allowing you to make the most out of your programs and their updates.
  • Remote protection: With so many companies choosing to have remote employees, it can be a challenge to protect data and personal information at home or on a personal device. Specific patch management programs can be used as part of a remote workforce support plan to protect devices no matter where they’re located.
  • Compliance: With an increase in data breaches come an increase in regulations that require companies to follow specific cyber security best practices. If you don’t comply, you could be at risk of legal penalties. When you use patch management software, you’ll be sure your company stays within any new or updated compliance standards.
  • Innovation: Technology is moving fast, and shows no sign of slowing down. Once there is a new feature rolled out within a program, there’s another one right around the corner. Using patch management tools makes it easy for those using these programs to keep up.

Some problems are easy to fix

Especially when you’re using patch management software that automatically installs the necessary program updates for you. It’s just one of those things that make your life easier.

Now that all of your devices are up to date, check out these other cyber security tips to keep your information out of the wrong hands.

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Mara Calvello
Author

Mara Calvello

Mara is a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at G2. In her spare time, she's typically at the gym polishing off a run, reading a book from her overcrowded bookshelf, or right in the middle of a Netflix binge. Obsessions include the Chicago Cubs, Harry Potter, and all of the Italian food imaginable.