Today, patch management is a critical component in ensuring enterprises are protected from software vulnerabilities that place increasing pressure on IT departments. From weak security measures to corrupt critical systems data and unavailable systems, software vulnerabilities pose significant issues for network managers.
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, Windows still accounts for more than 80 percent1 of the global desktop operating system market share. When compared to Mac or Linux, the simplicity, usability and affordability of Windows systems opens the door for many new and small- to medium-sized businesses to use Windows for a majority of their laptops and desktops.
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 with make Windows systems extremely appealing to hackers looking to exploit those weaknesses.
According to Steve McConnell, the author of Code Complete2 there are, on average, 15 to 50 defects3 per 1,000 lines of code in delivered software. With Windows 10 containing more than 50 million lines of code, patching the Windows family of operating systems is inevitable, time consuming — and a necessary evil.
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 Further complicating the issue is the notion that millions of users are still operating on outdated versions rather than the most up-to-date iteration, adding versioning issues to patch deployment and management.
Making matters worse, patch management has traditionally been performed manually. Because manual patch management is a tedious and time-consuming task, it often takes weeks, even months before every patch is applied. Enterprise patch management is a prime example of a task that would benefit 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.
In today’s threat landscape, companies can no longer afford to allow their Windows systems to remain unpatched for any period of time. However, given the prevalence of Windows operating systems, Windows patching solutions are not as simple as they should be. Vendor-provided choices include Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), but neither option is optimal.
WSUS is limited in scope, challenging to configure and notorious for update issues. SCCM, on the other hand, is incredibly costly to acquire and maintain. 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 which is 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. Sign up for our 15-day free trial to try Automox in your Windows environment. You’ll receive full access to the platform with no endpoint limit, and you don’t need a credit card to sign up.