Patch Management Best Practices

Any IT professional understands just how critical patch management can be to a business, regardless of whether it’s a small start-up or a Fortune 500 company. While many IT teams have patch management processes and procedures in place, there are still a large number of teams that are not utilizing their patch management system the way they could, or should be.

In order to help those teams that are struggling and further educate those teams that are confident in their patch management processes, we have outlined a list of best practices below to help guide you in the right direction or provide you with some new information. Have a look at our patch management best practices.

 

Education

Patch management best practive - antivirus exampleOnly the IT team needs to know about patch management, how and why it works, right? Wrong – everyone in your organization from a brand new intern all the way up to the CEO should have a basic understanding of your IT system. It’s critical for everyone to have some knowledge so they can be more aware of when/why updates happen.

Spending 30 minutes updating all employees once or twice a year will not only educate them on your IT processes, but it will make your job much easier. Think about it this way – would you rather spend a few minutes teaching someone what to do and what to look out for as opposed to spending countless hours or days fixing an issue they could have avoided in the first place? Your employees might not be all too excited about the learning part, but once they understand the importance and how they play a part in the grand scheme of things, they will appreciate you – and your team – a lot more.

 

Automation

Patch Tuesday is long gone. Real-time patch management allows your business to operate without any hiccups or delays in your system, and automating your process can be a beneficial part to ensuring real-time fixes. By automating your process, you can implement patches as soon as an issue arises without anyone knowing.

For example, the “Road warrior” sales person may not connect to your network often which could make patching difficult. Like whenever the “Road warrior” is online his/her machine will automatically be updated. Or, even have an automated process co-exist with your WSUS and Mac operating systems; automation can alleviate the stress of having to manually update each operating system, including Java and Adobe to name a few. Overall, automation can provide more accurate and timely patches, creating less stress and more time for you and your team.

 

Communication

While patches and updates can be made without creating downtime or delays for your employees, there are times when it is necessary to have system downtime in order for the patch or update to resolve an issue or update one of your systems.

By sending out a notification as early as possible to your employees, you will allow them to rearrange their schedule should they need to use a particular system during that downtime and plan to make other accommodations. Yes, this is not the most ideal situation, but if you can continuously educate and provide clear communication, they will understand. After all, you have a job to do as well.

 

Continuation

Your company spends good money on your patch management system, so why not leverage it as much as you possibly can. Are there additional pieces of software your company has invested in that can benefit from a patch management system? If so, utilize it wherever you can in order to get the most from your investment.

 

By following and implementing these patch management best practices, you will be able to get the most out of your patch management system. In turn, you will also create a safer environment for your business (and your customers’ business as well), and show your company just how important you and your team are to the overall success of the business.

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