What Exactly Is Patch Management and Why Is It Important?

microman blog patch management

In the complex world of information technology (IT), patch management is a critical aspect of the security process. The timely deployment of updates to systems and devices can reduce the likelihood of a security breach by an estimated 41%. 

It’s important to have network infrastructure protected with the latest patches and updates as quickly as possible to avoid vulnerabilities that may be exploited by cyber criminals. This will help ensure that your business-critical information is protected from malware, ransomware, phishing, and other security threats. 

Managing patches can be a complicated process.  Businesses need more than a manual process for deploying frequent security updates and fixes.  A centrally managed system that identifies, downloads, and deploys critical updates will ensure security and compliance, improve user productivity, and protect business continuity. 

You don’t have to spend tons of money, burden your IT department, or hire any full-time staff to implement a great patch management framework.      

In this post, we’ll drill down into these 3 critical aspects of patch management: 

  • What Is It? 
  • Why Is It Important? 
  • How Do You Implement a Robust Patch Management Framework? 

The first step to take when considering the adoption of patch management best practices is to consult a trusted IT partner.   

Microman is a managed IT services provider in Central Ohio. We’ve been protecting computer networks, users, and sensitive business information for our customers for over 30 years. Our diverse client base includes law firms, health care providers, long-term care facilities, construction companies, real estate firms, and more. 

We help our small business clients understand and implement robust, secure, affordable technology solutions that solve their unique IT issues. Whatever IT issues you’re facing, we’ve probably seen them before. Get in touch with one of our experts today and let’s find out if we can help

What is Software Patch Management? 

If your phone service provider has ever sent you an automated message saying that you need to upgrade your device, you’ve been exposed to patch and OS management first-hand.  

You’ve probably also seen the Windows Update box pop up on your desktop, letting you know that there are operating system upgrades that need to be installed.  

Most electronic devices have an operating system and run user applications that need to be secure and up to date. This requires software updates, aka patches.  

These updates are typically provided through patches that come directly from the OS or application developer, or the device manufacturer. Patches are pieces of software that provide fixes for issues that have been discovered and remedied since the previous release. The most common issues are typically performance and/or security related.    

You will need to consider a patch management strategy whether your company’s information infrastructure is on-premises, in the cloud, or both (hybrid environment).  

Why Is Patch Management Important? 

Small businesses are vulnerable. According to Inc Magazine

Cyber security research shows that smaller companies face a disproportionately higher risk when it comes to the financial losses associated with a security breach. They are also less likely to have implemented preventative measures, even after they’ve been the victim of an attack. 

Small businesses need the same security protections as their larger corporate cousins. They don’t always have the necessary time and resources to apply to cybersecurity though. This can lead to unnecessary vulnerabilities. 

Patch management is necessary for small businesses to stay current with: 

  • Security updates and enhancements 
  • Performance enhancements   
  • OS, application, and device functionality optimization and enhancements
  • Compliance requirements  
  • Remote workforce protection 

Most cybercrimes, including infrastructure and data breaches, are initiated when bad actors exploit OS, application, and device vulnerabilities created by poor patch management.   

How Do You Implement a Robust Patch Management Policy Framework? 

Most businesses don’t want to dedicate a significant amount of their current IT cycles and budget to patch management. And that’s OK. There are great services available that you can take advantage of. Patch management as a service is one of them. 

Your IT security services partner should have a keen understanding of patch management including: 

  • IT asset monitoring (OS, Application, device) 
  • Enterprise vs departmental vulnerabilities  
  • Patch efficacy 
  • Compliance impact (vendor and industry related) 
  • Dependencies
  • Deployment impact on adjacent IT infrastructure  
  • Rollout scheduling and testing 
  • Enterprise-wide rollout scheduling and implementation  

There are significant benefits to implementing a robust patch management policy. Spending a few minutes having a conversation with an expert will be time well spent for you and your company. 

At Microman, we focus on providing managed IT services for small businesses just like yours. We understand the risks you face in a technology world filled with threats. Many of those threats can potentially come from reactive patch management. 

We’d like to offer you a no-cost patch management assessment of your IT infrastructure to help you assess your potential risk exposure.  

That’s right, no cost to you. Let’s find out where you might be vulnerable.

Call us at 614-792-0645 or Schedule Your Free Security Assessment Today!