Patch management is the process of applying and distributing updates to your software. These patches are essential to resolve errors, bugs, and vulnerabilities in the software. It is one of the features of vulnerability management tools. Common areas that need patches are applications, operating systems, network equipment, and embedded systems. When vulnerability management tools find any problem, the patch fixes it. This helps to ensure that your environment is safe from exploitation.
Patch management and vulnerability management are interchangeable terms. Both strategies aim to reduce risk, but there is a difference between them. It is the process of managing updates, and its scope is very limited. On the other side, vulnerability management is the continuous process of identifying, prioritizing, and reporting on security vulnerabilities in systems. Vulnerability management tools scan company’s networks for vulnerabilities that may be exploited by attackers. Vulnerability management tools are so vast that the patch management process needs them for applying updates.
Performing Patch Management
Software enterprises use such practices to solve problems with different software programs called vulnerability management tools. These tools help analyze the software and detect risks in the system. Patch management is essential for the network security of computers. You can keep the hackers with malicious intent away just by keeping your computers and software up to date. Also, patching is not just a one-time process. Rather, it’s a continuous process which is very important to keep your systems safe from vulnerabilities.
Ideally, a patch should be applied as soon as it is released. If you still haven’t, apply patches right away in case of circumstances such as:
- Security Risk: Companies must apply security patches as quickly as possible because attackers know about security vulnerabilities.
- Features Improvement: When you need feature updates in the system, you should perform patch management. It goes beyond software bug fixes and includes feature and functionality updates. It ensures that you have the latest functionality of the product.
- Bugs: You must also apply patches when you discover a bug in the system. These patches can improve software stability and get rid of bugs.
Patch management is an evolving field. Businesses use many different operating systems, software applications and cloud-based services, which means more risks. Good patch management services are important, as they protect your operating systems from a massive data breach. In 2020, the process has become very complex. The use of automation and external devices (mobile phones) has increased the complexity, but it also has decreased the human power it needed before.