We all know patching is a necessary evil. For years it has been a bane of system administrators. While patching is never a task sysadmins are going to look forward to, incorporating patch automation as part of the process can actually make the experience pleasant.
Patch automation has evolved dramatically with the adoption of cloud computing. No longer are you limited to on-premise solutions that require additional servers to manage, are limited to a single OS, must have professional services to implement and manage, and, not surprisingly, are expensive.
Automated patching through the cloud means you can patch systems anywhere in the world, without the need for a VPN connection, running any OS, in real time, and do it all from a single dashboard. And you’re not limited to “set it and forget it” patch automation that remediates patches automatically.
That type of automation works for small organizations with a handful of systems to manage and a focus on keeping every system up to date. Larger companies have hardware and software dependencies that can be impacted by a new patch. If you test your patches first or have a patch workflow in place, today’s patch automation works with you, so you can improve your existing process and control when and how you want to automate specific steps.
Automation does not equal automatic.
If you’re not keeping up with new patch releases because you’re still patching manually, by relying on employees to keep their devices up to date or expecting an already overburdened IT operations team to find the time every day to review and implement patches, you’re three times as likely to experience a data breach. And you’re putting the company at unnecessary risk.
Manual patching can not keep up with the number of new patches released if you have more than 20 systems in your infrastructure. There are simply too many OS and 3rd party software patches coming out to manage the process efficiently.
And paying for managed services or vendor solutions like SCCM is expensive and inefficient. If a third party is involved in a data breach, it can actually increase the cost of a breach dramatically. Additionally, vendor solutions are limited to their own ecosystem. For example, SCCM is limited to Microsoft patching, is only available as part of a suite, requires SQL Server, needs its own servers, and is incredibly slow.
So then, why is automation not embraced for patch management? It boils down to trust. Patches fix known vulnerabilities, but they are not infallible once applied. Patches from Microsoft and other vendors have actually bricked systems once applied, making them unusable. Many companies also have legacy software and hardware dependencies that are business critical and could be impacted by new patches, resulting in downtime and service outages. For infrastructures larger than 40 systems, the risk of a patch ‘breaking’ their network outweighs the convenience of automation.
This fear of patch automation is common and makes sense if you’re only considering legacy solutions. However, it’s time to show sysadmins what new cloud based automated patching solutions can do for them. Not only will they save time and resources, they will actually improve their confidence in patching.
Automation can be applied to existing patch workflows in a variety of ways. For example, you can have instant visibility of what applications are installed on a system with full patch status, including outstanding patches. Automation can also be applied to remediation in the production environment after the patch has proven to be successful in a test environment, reducing the amount of time and resources required to implement patches system wide.
Automation is invaluable when it comes to managing exceptions, devices that need attention, patch failures, and creating an audit trail. Automox enables you to know immediately if there is an issue with a particular system and dig into the details so it can be addressed on the spot.
Patching and security go hand in hand. Control over the infrastructure is critical to ensure a stable, secure environment, ease of use for end users, and to comply with federal regulations, internal compliance, and service level agreements.
Visit us to learn more about how Automox automated system protection can help cut your threat footprint in half. If you want to see Automox in action, just let us know or you can try it out yourself for free.