Automated Windows Patch Management

Patch management is a critical component in ensuring enterprises are protected from vulnerabilities that place increasing pressure on IT departments. In today’s threat landscape, companies can no longer afford to allow their Windows systems to remain unpatched for any period of time. Is the native Microsoft patching automation sufficient? Or is there a better alternative?

Taking Aim at Large (and Weak) Targets

Despite the fact that the Windows family of operating systems has fallen in market share over the past few years, a majority of organizations are still completely built around Windows. In fact, Microsoft’s operating system still accounts for more than 80 percent1 of the global desktop operating system market share.

Consequently, it should not come as a surprise that bad actors frequently target Windows systems, attempting to gain access to company networks, steal data, and damage businesses. Additionally, the large number of known vulnerabilities present in Windows systems, in conjunction with the lack of frequency that many organizations update their Windows systems, make Windows devices extremely appealing to hackers looking to exploit a weakness.

Though Microsoft releases patches on a regular monthly schedule, many companies, unfortunately, do not install the necessary updates in a timely manner, leaving their systems vulnerable to cyberattacks. Further complicating the issue is the reality that millions of users are still operating on outdated OS versions rather than the most up-to-date iteration. This versioning issue only compounds patching release and targeting complexity, especially when considering that each semi-annual release of Windows 10 is treated by patching as its own operating system.

Taking the Pain Out of Patching Windows

Manual patch management is a tedious and time-consuming task, and it often takes weeks, even months before every patch is applied. Enterprise patch management is a prime example of a task that benefits greatly from automation to ensure that all machines remain up-to-date with the latest patch releases from OS and application software vendors. As a matter of fact, automating your patch management process is the best way to effectively protect your Windows systems.

Microsoft offers patching automation solutions such as Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM). WSUS is limited in scope, can be challenging to configure and maintain, and is notorious for update issues. SCCM, on the other hand, allows for advanced automation and targeting, but is incredibly costly to acquire and maintain. Not to mention both require Windows servers to run.

A number of third-party options that are built to patch Windows exist, however, many of them demand complex scripting and need to be on-premise. This is simply no longer a viable option in the face of an expanding remote and mobile workforce as well as the proliferation of cloud computing.

Fortunately, a better solution, one that doesn’t require hours of configuration and years of training, for patching Windows systems exists. Automox is a cloud-based, automated patching solution that handles every aspect of Windows, Mac, Linux and third-party application patch management, including system discovery, identifying required updates and deploying relevant patches, hotfixes, security updates and patch reports, to secure IT systems against possible breaches or malware.

Rather than relying on industry best practices for manually ensuring all OSs and applications are up to date with patches, Automox allows IT professionals to delegate that task to a sophisticated software solution that seamlessly handles the distribution process, using a lightweight, cloud-based agent that can be installed on all endpoints in just minutes. Existing patches can be applied immediately, and new patches can be applied within hours of their release according to flexible rules set by you.

Because Automox is cloud-based, the solution regularly adds new natively patched applications, so even if your company moves away from Windows or adds new software applications, your organization will never need to turn to another patching solution. By providing full visibility into your infrastructure, the platform shows the real-time patch status of every endpoint and enables reporting on current patch status with just a single click of your mouse. In the end, an automated Windows patching solution like Automox can control software vulnerabilities and prevent them from causing issues while protecting organizations, their employees and leadership from regulatory or internal compliance issues.

  1. http://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/worldwide

About Automox

Facing growing threats and a rapidly expanding attack surface, understaffed and alert-fatigued organizations need more efficient ways to eliminate their exposure to vulnerabilities. Automox is a modern cyber hygiene platform that closes aperture of attack by more than 80% with just half the effort of traditional solutions.

Cloud-based and globally available, Automox enforces OS & third-party patch management, security configurations, and custom scripting across Windows, Mac, and Linux from a single intuitive console. IT and SecOps can quickly gain control and share visibility of on-prem, remote and virtual endpoints without the need to deploy costly infrastructure.

Experience modern, cloud-based patch management today with a 15-day free trial of Automox and start recapturing more than half the time you're currently spending on managing your attack surface. Automox dramatically reduces corporate risk while raising operational efficiency to deliver best-in-class security outcomes, faster and with fewer resources.

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