Patch Management 101 – From Neglected to Automated; 5 Tips for Managing Patching in your Business

Patch Management 101 – From Neglected to Automated; 5 Tips for Managing Patching in your Business

If we asked a new client what they had in place for patching most of them would answer in one of two ways. Either they’re “pretty sure” patching is happening regularly, or they know patches have mostly been ignored for quite some time.

Regardless of how they answered, the outcome is usually the same. We usually inherit managing systems that are way behind on patches. That’s because patching doesn’t start out being an automated easy process for most businesses, there is some effort required to get into a good patching process established.

If patching is left up to employees for their devices, it’s typical for the “Remind Me Later” to become the permanent option when it comes to patching. Depending on their level within your company this can either be a bad idea to very risky (though any device can act as a threat vector when it’s connected to your network). If a device that has admin level access is unpatched and it’s basically handing the keys to your kingdom over to bad actors.

That’s because many patches are released specifically to address an active security concern. While functionality and quality of life improvements are also addressed via patching, active security concern patches can be released with little notice and should not be ignored.

We’re also aware many users have a negative association with patching, especially if they’ve installed patches in the past and encountered bugs or issues. While these patches can be rolled back, it may not be simple to do so especially if your machine hasn’t been set up that way.

There’s also patches for IoT (Internet of Things) and peripheral devices that aren’t as simple as clicking “Update Now”. Many times, patching these devices involves going to the companies website, downloading the patch, and manually installing it. With routers in particular patches are typically released to address a very serious security threat. We reported on a series of Netgear routers which when unpatched could easily be taken over by an intruder.

Now that we’ve established why patching is important, here are five ways to make it more manageable:

  1. Create an Inventory of Devices Within Your Business: To manage consistent patching across the board you first need to know what you have. It’s a good idea to keep an inventory of all your devices (even peripherals or handheld devices like tablets).
  2. Create Consistency for Work Devices: For devices you or your employees work on, like laptops and desktops, it’s a good idea to try and maintain consistency. Meaning if you’re applying a patch to one of them you should apply it to all of them. That way it’s not a mishmash of various updates across your business. This will also make it much easier to troubleshoot any issues.
  3. Make Sure They’re Running the Latest OS (Operating System) Too: For Windows devices, it’s also important to keep them up to date with the latest OS version. Windows will discontinue patches for operating systems that have reached end-of-life. This doesn’t mean they no longer require patching; in fact, these devices are often targeted by hackers specifically because they can no longer be maintained.
  4. Also, for Windows Devices Have a Group Policy for Patching: This is an advanced tip, but you or your current IT provider can setup a group policy to make sure patches are occurring on a schedule for Windows devices.
  5. Work With a Professional to Create a Patching Plan: Patching is part of ongoing maintenance, and it can be difficult to address it on your own. At Valley Techlogic patching management is provided under every monthly service plan with us.

Here is a mini report on how Valley Techlogic addresses patching management (as well as other routine maintenance items):

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This article was powered by Valley Techlogic, an IT service provider in Atwater, CA. You can find more information at or on Facebook at . Follow us on Twitter at