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Why Patch Management is critical to business success


Emily Keeling

Posted May 16, 2024

Keeping your software and systems properly patched can be a real challenge. You need to make sure that you’re up-to-date on the latest patches, without disrupting your business or implementing updates that cause problems.

It’s hard enough to keep up with the latest security threats, but trying to patch your systems at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Updates can lead to system crashes, lost data, and other headaches.

Yet patch management doesn’t have to be difficult.

With the right tools in place, you can automate the process and keep your business safe from harm.


What is patch management?

Patch management is the process of managing patches – updates and fixes to software and systems. Helping businesses like yours reduce their exposure to malware, cyberattacks, and other threats, whilst improving system performance and stability.

A patch management system should be an integral part of your managed IT support strategy. It will allow you to streamline identifying, downloading, and installing patches for all software and operating systems within your business. Helping you keep systems up-to-date and secure while also reducing the risk of system failures and disruptions.


What is a software patch?

A software patch is a small piece of code used to fix a bug or vulnerability in a piece of software.A software vendor (the company that develops the software) typically releases patches regularly. Allowing businesses to update and implement, reducing exposure to potential attacks.


Types of patches

There are two types of patches: security patches and bug fixes.

Security patches address vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit, while bug fixes correct errors or problems in the software. We recommend you install both when released to safeguard your systems.


What is a security vulnerability?

A security vulnerability is a flaw in a system or software that attackers could exploit to access sensitive data or systems. Security vulnerabilities are typically discovered through code reviews, penetration testing, and other means.We recommend you patch known vulnerabilities as soon as possible to reduce the risk of being compromised.

The Benefits of Patch Management

The benefits of implementing a patch management strategy include:


Reduced exposure to Cyber Security Threats

You’ll close the door to potential security threats, helping to create a more secure environment for employees and customers alike.


Improved System Performance

Out-of-date software can decrease system performance. By keeping systems up-to-date, you can ensure that your employees have the best possible system experience.


Increased Productivity

Employees are more productive when systems are running smoothly. A patch management plan can help to ensure that your resources are used efficiently and effectively.


Improved Customer Satisfaction

Happy customers are essential for any business. You’ll increase customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing a secure and efficient experience.


The Importance of Patch Management in IT Security

Every business’s patch management strategy will vary, yet all patch management strategies will share a common goal:

To protect the company from malware, cyber-attacks, and other threats by patching vulnerabilities in software and systems.

A successful patch management plan is a critical part of any IT support package. Keeping your software up to date helps:

  • Prevent the spread of malware
  • Protects business and customer data.
  • Reduces vulnerability to cyber-attacks and other threats

Patch management is not only crucial for business defence but also for compliance with industry and government regulations. Failing to patch vulnerabilities can lead to hefty fines under UK GDPR law


The Challenges of Patching Systems and Software

As businesses increasingly rely on technology, the importance of patch management has grown. Yet it’s a challenge for businesses as they need to balance security with business needs.

Some of the challenges you’ll face when implementing patch management include:


The complex landscape of software and systems

There are a lot of different software and systems in use today. This can be challenging to keep track of vulnerabilities and patch them promptly.


The need to balance security with business needs

Patch vulnerabilities in a way that doesn’t disrupt your business operations, which can be challenging to do, especially for critical systems.


The risk of false positives

When IT teams test for vulnerabilities, there is always the risk of
false positives, leading to unnecessary downtime
and disruption.


The risk of new vulnerabilities

New vulnerabilities can crop up at any moment, even after a patch upgrade, causing ongoing challenges for businesses.


Despite the challenges, patch management is essential to the security of any business. By understanding the issues and taking steps to address them, you can ensure your systems and software are adequately protected.

Patch Management best practices

By following these best practices, you can further reduce your exposure to cyber-attacks and other threats:


Is your inventory up to date

Asset management tools will help streamline the implementation process and ensure no item is missed.


Implement a Patch Management Policy

A patch management policy is critical for any successful patch management strategy. The policy should outline the procedures for installing patches, testing patches, and reporting issues.


Establish a Process for Installing Patches

Ensure implementation quickly and efficiently. This process should include steps for identifying and downloading patches, verifying the integrity of the patch, and deploying the patch.


Test Patches Before Deployment

It is essential to test patches before deploying them to production systems. By testing patches in a controlled environment, businesses can ensure that they will not cause any adverse effects on company resources.


Keep Systems Up-To-Date

One of the essential aspects of patch management is keeping systems up-to-date. You can reduce your exposure to vulnerabilities by regularly installing the latest patches.


Monitor Systems for Issues

Even after deployment, it is vital to monitor systems for issues. By monitoring systems, you can quickly identify and resolve any problems.



In Conclusion

Ultimately, patch management is essential for any business that wants to stay safe and secure online.

A managed service provider like Techcare can implement a robust and effective patch management policy. Keeping your systems safe, secure and provide a critical element of your IT strategy.