The IT infrastructure and applications in large enterprises require dedicated staff for their management, maintenance, and security. It’s a complex job, which can overwhelm any team with tickets and issues, and that’s why IT teams are always looking out for trustworthy ways to automate, centralize, and simplify their work. One of the typical ways to do that is through using a dedicated patch management software to apply updates automatically and in bulk, ensuring all software gets updated as soon as possible.
Managing patches can be a daunting task
Security teams need to quickly release and apply updates to all affected systems to counter new malware and vulnerabilities. However, it is easier said than done; it took Microsoft five months to release a patch for one of its Windows Server vulnerabilities in Dec 2018. It’s not only zero-days that are of concern. According to a FireEye report, 42% of vulnerabilities were exploited after the availability of an update.
This is where strong patch management policies and tools that enable policy enforcement come into the picture. A centralized software is essential for any enterprise to ensure data privacy and security. While some OSes have update mechanisms embedded (such as Windows Server Update Services or WSUS and System Center Configuration Manager), large organizations need comprehensive, flexible solutions that can support many OSes, applications, and systems. Further, the best patch management tools offer a high degree of automation to detect and update unsafe third-party widgets, libraries, and more. In this article, we listed the top seven software to evaluate before making an informed choice.
The N-able™ (formerly SolarWinds® MSP) N-central® product offers patch management as one of its many capabilities for remote monitoring and management. It uses rules, caching, multiple maintenance windows and automated approval methods to enable you to automate the patching of devices under your management. Updates can be applied either globally or on a per-device level when needed. In addition, applying smart keywords makes it possible to ignore some updates depending on the circumstances. For comprehensive visibility, N-central gives you an overview of all update statuses in your environment to act on any issues as soon as they arise.
Of course, N-central is a lot more than just patch management. The many features this all-in-one remote monitoring platform provides also include centrally managed antivirus, endpoint detection and response, network mapping, backup management, and a lot more. There are plenty of integrations for N-central including support for Microsoft Intune which many readers may find useful.
Patch management is also offered as part of another all-in-one tool from N-able, called RMM. It’ll help organizations meet their needs for applying updates quickly and efficiently to ensure the highest security standards for all users.
RMM provides access to a single web console to manage all updates. You can apply updates manually or create auto-approve rules depending on security policies and the current needs. Scheduling makes it possible to update software without disrupting employees during critical productive times. For visibility, you get access to clear reports to quickly fix any issues as soon as they arise. For troubleshooting any issues around software updates, the remote background management feature can be extremely helpful. It lets you provide remote support and perform system administration tasks without establishing a full remote desktop connection.
Regarding OS support, it’s important to mention that with the automated tools included in N-able RMM, you can approve, schedule, and deploy patches using the same set of workflows for both Windows and macOS devices. This means that all devices get the same level of security.
There are some differences between N-able RMM and N-central which we explained in another article. Be sure to check out our guide on N-able RMM vs N-central.
Patch Manager Plus by ManageEngine is an end-to-end solution, which supports Windows, macOS, and Linux systems along with many third-party applications and updates. It allows you to choose between both on-premises and cloud-based deployment models. You can run a scan to detect vulnerable endpoints and automate patches across a wide range of desktops, servers, virtual machines, and mobile devices. Further, you can also run audits and get scheduled reports for better visibility and control across your network. ManageEngine offers three editions of Patch Manager Plus with one free edition supporting up to 20 computers and 5 servers.
SysAid Patch Management is a capable solution that supports Windows-based systems, Microsoft Applications, and some third-party applications including Java, Chrome, Skype, Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, and more. It also supports both cloud and on-premises environments and offers easy setup and automated capabilities. IT administrators can monitor the progress of patch deployments with an overview of all due and completed patches via a unified interface. The solution easily integrates with all SysAid products for network management. While the solution offers all required features for seamless patch management, it lacks support for Linux and macOS systems—which is its major drawback.
ITarian also offers powerful software for Windows Patch Management, which provides an agent-based approach to scanning and updating automated patches across enterprise networks. ITarian also offers third-party patches on request, which can help you extend its capabilities to systems, applications, and servers outside of the Microsoft ecosystem. The solution also supports notifications and provides reports to help you stay on top of your IT environment.
The patch management software by Avast supports Windows-based computers and servers along with various third-party applications. The solution provides automated patching across all supported devices in your network, with minimal impact on network performance and speed. You can also apply updates remotely and get centralized visibility and control with its cloud-based platform. Its unified dashboard provides you a birds-eye view of all software patches helping you easily track progress, identify failures, and rollback patches that create issues. You can also schedule automated patch scans and get comprehensive reports to assess the health and security of devices in your network.
Rapid7 InsightVM is essentially a vulnerability management solution that supports automation-assisted patching and containment. The solution relies on Rapid7’s threat and vulnerability research data to support live vulnerability and endpoint analytics. You can also monitor and update cloud, containerized, and virtual infrastructure with InsightVM and make use of its RESTful API for integrations with Splunk, ServiceNow, and other tools. The company also offers managed vulnerability management services. Check out its training and certifications to get the most of InsightVM.
Organizations need scalable patch management solutions to meet the requirements of their growing IT infrastructure. The tools discussed in this article offer easy implementation and effective patching. However, we find N-central and RMM from N-able scoring high on key features, such as cross-platform support, automation, rollbacks, end-to-end visibility, and reports. You can evaluate their free trials to get started and choose higher plans as you need.
Note: Product specifications and other information set forth herein have either been made accessible by suppliers, manufacturers, publications, or gathered from publicly available sources as of the date of this document. Although measures are taken to ensure the accuracy of the information as of the date of this content, N-able makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information and shall incur no liability for any errors or omissions.
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