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Patch Management

The Modern IT Manager’s Secret Weapon for Linux Patch Management

By September 7, 2016 No Comments
secret weapon linux patch management

In the last 25 years, Linux has positioned itself as the default choice for many IT, devops, and engineering professionals. I often attribute this adoption to the four ‘F’s: Free, Fast, Flexible, and Familiar. The first three, along with a thriving open source community, has played a huge role in driving familiarity and production use of Linux across a large user base.

The popularity of Linux, while great for productivity and product development, can cause concern for CIOs and IT managers alike. Linux instances can pop up unexpectedly in the most random parts of your organization, and seemingly multiply like rabbits. And as with any operating system, Linux is subject to its share of security vulnerabilities. It’s  open nature, ease of use, and popularity has made unpatched Linux systems a critical security and compliance threat in today’s enterprise.

Chasing Rabbits

Variety: One of the biggest complications of Linux patch management is simply the fact that, there are over 100 flavors of Linux based on five package managers and many more independent distributions. For IT Managers, keeping up with all of these variations, and ensuring they are all patched appropriately, is almost impossible.

Speed: Pushing patching complication even further is server virtualization.  IT has caused an explosion (read: VM Sprawl) in the number of Linux instances deployed within an organization due to the simplicity with which one can spin up a new virtual machine – literally within minutes and at no cost. It is not uncommon for IT Managers to find unknown, unpatched, unsecured Linux VM instances in production, as part of PaaS offerings, or deployed in  containers – the latest rage of the last couple years. That’s a lot of rabbits.

Down the Rabbit Hole

With all these complication it’s no surprise that there are so many Linux patch management tools available today. Unfortunately most of these tools are point solutions, designed only to work within the firewall and with a limited set of Linux distributions This means you likely need more than one tool to manage your Linux patching.  Tools that can work across multiple distributions are complex, require extensive scripting and programming and come with a steep learning curve. Of course, you can always “roll your own” solution – how hard can it be, right? Pretty easy, that is, until you’re 100 hours in and struggling with testing, idempotency, patch confirmation, edge cases, and feature creep. All the while falling behind on the many other responsibilities that come with your job. Good luck getting out of that hole.

Automation to the Rescue

The power, accuracy, cost, and time savings of automation is all around us. It has lept out of the datacenter from behind kludgy scripts into our light fixtures, thermostats, and banking procedures… yet as an IT Manager I am still wondering why automation hasn’t fully penetrated one of the most mundane IT tasks – patch management.

Automated patch management presents IT managers with the opportunity ensure that all of their Linux instances, regardless of their flavor, remain 100% patched, 100% of the time. No more wondering if systems are patched or being reactive when you realize your systems aren’t.

At Automox, we have built our company on the premise of completely automating patch management for Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems. Our revolutionary platform automatically identifies endpoints that have fallen out of patch compliance and applies required patches – with no effort on your part.

Broad Linux support along with a constant cycle of policy-based Evaluation and Remediation sets Automox apart. By simply adding the Automox OS Agent to any of your Linux endpoints you will instantly generate a full inventory view along with a complete list of deployed software. Any systems that are out of date will be patched and updated automatically.

 

Are you looking for a modern automated endpoint management solution for your organization? We encourage you to sign up now and start managing your endpoints from the cloud today!

The Automox team is a group of experienced cloud experts who are passionate about the current cloud revolution. Do you have questions our thoughts about cloud computing and endpoint management? We’d love to hear from you! Drop us a note at info@automox.com

Holly Hamann

Author Holly Hamann

Holly Hamann serves as Automox's Chief Marketing Officer and is an entrepreneur and start-up veteran. She has helped launch six tech companies in the social media, content, video, and marketing software industries and specializes in SaaS software marketing, content marketing, and influencer marketing. She is an American Marketing Association "Marketer of the Year" recipient and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science.

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