Patching your servers, desktops, laptops and any other system in your Network will either Save you or Cripple you. If you are a network administrator or in tech support, you know exactly what and why we say that.
In recent months, exploits for Windows systems have been made public by various hacker groups that have been subsequently used for exploiting those vulnerabilities and exposing systems to massive breaches and ransomware viruses. Many of these cryptowall or cryptolocker/ransomware viruses are bringing down businesses, schools, home users and even Hospitals as of recently.
Having a proper Patch Manager Software Tool implemented in your network will save you from dealing with many of the issues from above – along with many sleepless nights of installing patching manually.
Some admins and network engineers would argue having WSUS and/or SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) in place will solve the patch management issue – and in some cases its true. But there are caveats and downfalls to utilizing a Microsoft based software solution. WSUS is, at times, complicated and not as friendly as it should be to use, as well as the issue of only being able to manage Windows updates.
SCCM, on the other hand, demands a team to manage it, incurring more costs on top of the licensing costs involved already. This is why we recommend a 3rd-party patch manager to help you cover all your bases and all systems and software that you have in production.
Here's the Top Patch Management Tools & Software of 2017:
Below is a list of software that will assist in keeping all systems up-to-date and secure without much effort and minimal configuration.
Solarwinds Patch Manager
Solarwinds have developed an easy-to-use and very intuitive Patch Manager software that has quite the feature list. Their solution boasts “Automated Patching of Microsoft Servers, Workstations and 3rd-party Applications”, which is quite the statement.
Their software integrates directly with WSUS and SCCM if you have those in-place already and easily streamlines the process and automates your patching to your critical servers and workstations. They offer pre-built and Pre-tested packages for many 3rd Party applications that can be easily updated within their dashboard, as seen in the image below:
Some of the 3rd party applications updates that are supported include:
- HP business and Proliant Server
- and many many more!
Full list of featured applications can be seen here: http://www.solarwinds.com/patch-manager/supported-apps
One of the primary reasons to use this tool in our opinion is the dashboard – you can track all patches within a single dashboard, as well as update status and get a graphic view what errors and completed installations. This not only assists you as an admin, but will assist in keeping up-to-date with compliance and auditors if necessary.
Patch Manager utilizes either WSUS or SCCM (or both if you have them within your environment) to help you quickly scale and install updates as necessary to a wide variety of application, operating systems and vendors. They also offer the option to build your own .MSI or .EXE files to deploy within the network.
Below is a great video about the capabilities of Solarwinds' offering that gives you a great overview of its capabilities.
Grab a Free 30 Day Trial Download and follow along:
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
ManageEngine has recently added a great new tool to their already great network monitoring software suite known as “Patch Manager Plus”. They offer a seamless, simple to use platform to keep Linux, Mac and Windows systems updated, as well as over 250 third-party applications.
Some of the options they provide with their solution include:
- Patch Compliance
- Real-Time Audits and Reports
- Approve/Decline Patches depending on Severity and Priority
- Implement Test Groups of computers
- Extensive list of 3rd-party Application support (seen here)
They offer 3 different versions of this software:
Official Website and Information:
GFI is another great solution for patch management and they offer not only the basic platform updates, but Windows Phone, iOS and Android as well. They conduct over 60,000 vulnerability assessments and ensure that your network systems and devices are kept up-to-date with the latest patches and updates.
Some features that GFI offers are as follows:
- Intuitive Reporting Dashboard/Console
- Anti-Virus Patch management as well as integration with major Security Software
- View Security issues within your Network including rogue USB Drives, Phones & tablets
- PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GLB/GLBA and PSN CoCo Compliance
- and much more!
To get a full understanding of the level of management and detail that GFI LanGuard covers, please check out their Official website below.
The importance of having your systems continually patched is more crucial than ever, in light of recent events. As we've seen, there are many exploits and vulnerabilities within Windows systems and other network devices that are not made public and usually get into the hands of the wrong people. These attackers use these vulnerabilities, which usually have been patched only days prior, to launch global attacks via Email phishing and such to exploit these holes and infect your systems with Ransomware and Cryptolocker – we know because this happened to us once.
Patching, on top of user training and awareness, will save your data, files and possibly your business. We recommend grabbing one of these patch management tools from above and getting them implemented immediately. Our choice for the Best Patch Management software has to be Solarwinds Patch Manager – They offer a robust and scalable solution that is backed by a massive company that will be there if questions or support issues arise. They have a track record for developing cutting edge software that many IT departments (including ours) cannot live without!