The Patch Management Lifecycle is a series of steps that are essential in system management. These include installing, testing, and installing multiple patches to existing software. The patch that needs to be updated is determined by the computer system. The system administrator ensures that all patches are properly installed and that all procedures are documented according to the specific configurations. This makes it simple.
Software companies often conduct patch management as part of their internal process to resolve issues with software versions. They also document the current system and the software tool. Some patches are functionality-based and require extensive testing. Software patches are designed to address an issue that was identified during the software release. This is done primarily to determine if there are security risks.
Over the years, Patch Management has seen drastic changes. Today, it’s quite a different game. Patches were standalone code modules that could be downloaded from external media. The administrator would add the code to an existing program and then run it. The cloud is now the norm.
The global IP network makes patches available. It automatically updates the system, scanning it and notifying you if there are any issues. This allows admins to determine if the system needs to be maintained seamlessly.
Best Practices in Patch Management
Every system administrator has faced challenges due to the increasing complexity of IT networks and infrastructures, as well as the growing threat from malware. Software updates and software installation have increased dramatically, as has the speed at which vulnerabilities strike. The system automates Patch Management tasks, and the administrator deploys updates on a timely basis.
- Maintain the inventory, including all operating systems, software versions, physical location, IP addresses, up-to-date. Software tools, including commercial software. Maintain your inventory and network at regular intervals.
- Standardize your production process and create a plan for the new version of the software. This will make it easier to update the software next time.
- You should make a list of all security controls such as firewalls, routers, and Antivirus Software. Also, their configuration. Keep a list of any configurations that are not standard. This will allow you to quickly execute the tasks in case of vulnerability.
- Make a list of vulnerabilities and create a report. Next, compare the vulnerability lists with your inventory. You can now identify the vulnerabilities that could harm your system. You will need to dedicate resources to this task.
- Evaluate the risk and vulnerability of the system and then classify it accordingly. Servers and systems that are mission-critical and vulnerable can be identified. If the firewall is not blocking the threat, you can test it. You can then classify the threat and assign priority. You should consider three things: the severity of the threat and the impact on vulnerability.
- After you have completed all of the steps above, apply the patch. Now you know which patch must be installed or updated. Assessing the tool is an important part of patch management. Find out if it meets your needs.
Policy and Procedures for Patch Management
The patch management policy is a guideline for making decisions during the cycle. This policy provides clarification on the patching strategy and whether patches should be manually applied or automatically. The severity of the security problem must be followed by the solution. Patch Management is a collection of generalized rules and possible solutions. It is important to have a process that does not cause compatibility and load problems.
This policy covers all IT infrastructure components, including servers, software, routers and switches, storage, peripherals, and databases.
The policy should be known by all users. Administrators and IT staff must ensure that the system is safe and secure and that patches are regularly updated.
- You should be able to anticipate risks. Without effective patch management, chances are that there will be no patches available. This could be due to malware exploiting systems, viruses, or out-of-date software rendering systems unstable.
- You can either set the setting to Automatically update patches or manually. It is important to check and update the anti-virus and security components.
- If Windows is the OS, the patch management tools must be set up so that it automatically downloads all the Microsoft security patches. These patches will be checked and then applied as needed.
- Periodic reviews of the supplier’s website that provides servers, tablets PCs, printers, switches, and routers as well as other peripherals are conducted to check firmware patches.
- Linux systems must be updated with the latest patches. Then, they should be tested and implemented as needed.
- The IT Department will approve all patches and be responsible for all technical updates, starting with operating systems, software, antivirus, and servers, workstations, patches, and drivers.
How to create a new patch management policy
Administrators can create patch management policies using the Policies interface to automatically and periodically update patches or third-party apps from the patch server to individual or group endpoints.
To create a new policy
- Choose the customer account you want from the drop-down menu.
- Click the “Policies” tab to open the policies interface
- Click the “Add Policy” button in the top right. You will be redirected to the ‘Create a New Policy’ dialog.
Administrators can use the Patch Management module to create policies that automatically apply patches to specific endpoints according to a set schedule. The policy can be created to keep selected endpoints current without administrator intervention. You create policies by specifying which type of patch you want (third-party or operating system) when the operation will be performed, and the target endpoints. There are also other criteria like patch severity. To execute policy commands, the patch management module uses “Cron”.