Patch management is the practice of deploying firmware, driver, operating system (OS), and application updates to your computing endpoints. Patch management is critical to keeping systems updated, reducing attack surfaces, and ensuring employee productivity.
Patch management is the process of planning, testing, and applying updates, or "patches," to software applications and operating systems in order to address vulnerabilities, improve functionality, and enhance security. These patches are released by software vendors to fix bugs, security flaws, and other issues that may have been discovered since the software's initial release. The main steps in patch management typically include: Identification: This involves keeping track of the patches released by software vendors. This can be done through various channels like official websites, email notifications, or automated patch management tools. Assessment: After identifying available patches, it's important to evaluate their relevance to the specific systems and applications in use. Not all patches will be applicable to every environment. Testing: Before deploying a patch, it's crucial to test it in a controlled environment to ensure it doesn't cause any unforeseen issues or conflicts with existing software. This is particularly important for critical systems to avoid potential disruptions. Deployment: Once a patch has been tested and deemed safe, it can be deployed to the target systems. This can be done manually or, in larger organizations, through automated patch management tools. Verification: After deployment, it's important to verify that the patch was successfully applied and that it resolved the issue it was intended to address. Monitoring and Reporting: Ongoing monitoring is important to ensure that the patch is functioning as intended and hasn't introduced any new issues. Additionally, keeping a record of patching activities is crucial for compliance and security audits.