9 Best Practices for Patch Management (With Definition)

Best Practices For Patch Management
  1. Take Inventory of Systems. …
  2. Determine Risk and Vulnerability. …
  3. Consolidate Software. …
  4. Create a Patch Management Policy. …
  5. Track Patch Availability. …
  6. Apply Patches Quickly. …
  7. Sufficiently Test Patches. …
  8. Automate Patching.

As businesses become increasingly reliant on technology, patch management has become a fundamental component of IT infrastructure. Patch management is the process of identifying, testing, and deploying software updates to IT systems. It is important to ensure that patching is conducted in a timely and efficient manner, as this is critical for the security and stability of systems. However, patching can be complex, and there are many best practices to keep in mind when implementing patch management. In this blog post, we will explore the best practices for patch management and provide tips on how to most efficiently manage the process. Patch management is a vital component of any organization’s IT strategy, and it is important to understand the best practices for carrying out patching in order to ensure that IT systems are secure and up to date.

5 Best Practices for Patch Management

Why is patch management important?

Patch management can increase the performance and security of IT systems. This process can help organizations:

What is patch management?

Patch management is the process of regularly updating IT systems with “patches,” which are fixes for bugs or security vulnerabilities. Patches are frequently used by IT professionals to update various components of an IT environment, such as operating systems, network hardware, and software applications. A change to a piece of software’s source code serves as an illustration of a patch. Effective patch management can aid IT teams in thwarting cyberattacks and maintaining the security of an IT environment.

9 best practices for patch management

To assist you in maintaining the security of your company’s IT environment, here are nine patch management best practices:

1. Create a systems inventory

You can make sure you’re patching necessary programs and devices by creating a thorough inventory of all the hardware and software connected to a network in your business. Sort these resources by hardware, operating system, device, and third-party applications. Once you’ve created this inventory, periodically, such as monthly or quarterly, review it to help you keep an eye on these systems. You can use this inventory list to decide which patches you might want to apply if you become aware of any potential vulnerabilities.

2. Categorize risks

Look through your inventory list and classify any risks associated with each item. You can decide which assets to patch first by allocating a risk level to each one. A server that is only accessible from inside a building, for instance, may be more susceptible to cyberattacks than a laptop used by an employee. You can quickly ascertain which IT assets are essential to an organization’s operations by categorizing these risks. This method can assist you in prioritizing the installation of necessary patches for issues that could affect multiple systems or devices.

3. Streamline software

Some businesses might have a variety of programs that carry out related tasks. Other software may have multiple available versions. Keep the most recent version of this software and get rid of any duplicates to streamline it. By following this procedure, you can manage fewer applications, which means you’ll need to apply fewer patches. You could use it to raise the effectiveness of your patch management system. Organizations can reduce their risks of security vulnerabilities by using less software.

4. Manage security updates

Create a system to control security updates from those vendors if your company uses third-party software, such as antivirus protection software. They frequently send emails to their clients with security announcements and suggested patches. Consider subscribing to receive their emails and creating a special inbox folder to filter those messages. Keep an eye on those emails or other updates to make sure you are aware of any new patches and are able to apply them as needed.

5. Develop a patching schedule

Making a patching schedule will help you consistently remember to carry out this procedure. Identify a time and day each week to apply patches. If at all possible, select a time when there are few users online, such as late at night or on weekends. Additionally, picking a time when you can check the system’s accessibility before users log back on is beneficial. For instance, if you decide to apply patches on Wednesday evenings, you may choose to check the system early on Thursday morning before people start working for the day.

6. Test patches

When a patch is needed for several systems, test it on a few assets first. It’s possible that some software or devices may experience issues as a result of patches. You can find potential issues by patching a small number of items before deploying the fixes to a larger group. Apply the patch to other assets if there are no issues with the test group. You can reduce system availability interruptions with the aid of these tests.

7. Apply patches quickly

Apply new patches as soon as you become aware of them from third-party vendors. You should inform the development team of any security flaws you find in the coding of your own applications. They can help identify patches to correct those errors. Apply those patches as soon as possible, and update any software that is being developed that the vulnerabilities may affect. Quickly applying patches can ensure that IT assets are protected from potential security risks, such as hacking

8. Have a restore plan

Patches may, though rarely, result in issues with certain programs or devices. In these situations, having a restoration strategy to return the assets to their pre-patch state is beneficial. A restore plan, for instance, can remove a patch from a piece of software and return it to its original state. Create a strategy to restore the resources by running a series of commands. Ensure that other administrators are aware of the strategy so that anyone can use it when necessary.

9. Track progress

Once you’ve put in place a patch management system, monitor your results to see if you can successfully update your assets. Changes to your patch management strategy, such as changing the day or time you apply patches, should be made as necessary. Make sure the other IT team members are properly trained so they comprehend the patch management process. Monitoring your progress can assist you in maintaining the network security of your organization and the efficient operation of your IT systems.


How do you manage patch management?

6 Steps to Effective OT/ICS Patch Management
  1. Step 1: Establish Baseline OT Asset Inventory. …
  2. Step 2: Gather Software Patch and Vulnerability Information. …
  3. Step 3: Determine the Relevancy of a Vulnerability and Filter to Assign to Endpoints
  4. Step 4: Review, Approve, and Mitigate Patch Management.

Which is the essential step in patch management?

The main stages of the patch management process — identifying, acquiring, testing, deploying and documenting them — are supported by the following important steps:
  1. inventorying devices, operating systems and applications;
  2. deciding which software versions to standardize on;

What should a patch management policy include?

Create an updated baseline inventory of all of your production systems This process’s first step is to create an updated baseline inventory of all of your production systems. This list must be exhaustive in scope and at the very least contain all the operating systems and applications used by your organization.

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