In a previous article I wrote about software patches and why relying on auto updating systems of individual applications is not a practical solution for corporate networks.
You need a patch management solution for proper patch management. But what are the benefits of automating patch management for these companies?
Security is the most obvious reason as to why companies would want to have an automated patch management solution in place. One of the main reasons why software vendors release new patches is to fix security vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malicious software or people intending to damage the IT systems or network.
Applying security patches in a timely fashion highly reduces the risk of having a security breach and all the related problems that come with it, like data theft, data loss, reputations issues or even legal penalties.
2. Company Productivity
An efficient system which deploys patches network wide helps to improve the productivity of the company in many ways. Often patches come with performance improvements for the products they apply to, or fix crashes. Helping employees get rid of these issues will lead to a productivity boost. The improved security also helps productivity. In the majority of cases the worst effect of malware is not the stealing of company sensitive data, but rather the downtime that badly affects productivity. The effect varies from congested networks or slowed down systems because of malware activity, to breakdowns of business critical applications and to systems which are totally compromised and need to be reinstalled from scratch.
3. IT Department Productivity
Productivity gain is easily measured within the IT department. You just need to ascertain how many people and working hours are required to patch the systems manually, and how much you save by using software that automates the process. In fact, for companies that have more than 20-25 computers in their network, the headaches and time required to perform manual patching are so high that, if the company does not have a solution to automate patch management, they probably do not do it at all or it is limited to critical servers only.
Recently compliancy has become an important driver for companies to implement a patch management solution. There are more and more laws and regulations that are imposing security best practices on companies and having the systems fully patched is one of the most important security rules.
Government institutions, companies offering financial services and healthcare organizations are among the most affected by these regulations, but the trend is that all companies will need to be secure enough to be able to protect the privacy and data of their employees, customer and partners.
Here is a list with some of the most important standards related to IT infrastructure security: Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Sarbanes–Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm–Leach–Bliley Act (GLB/GLBA), Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Government Connect Secure Extranet – Code of Connection (GCSx CoCo).
Failure to comply can result in losing opportunities, incurring legal and financial penalties or even losing your business.
5. Keep Up with New Features
Patches can contain new features, adding new functionality or extending support for additional platforms. For organizations this often translates into opportunities to improve or extend their services.