Most corporate systems are being patched constantly by the IT department. Software upgrades, security alerts, changes to the IT architecture, fixes and new functionality all require amendments to existing systems. In the past, these patches were applied in an ad-hoc fashion, and not properly documented. But with the complexity of today’s IT architecture, that approach soon lead to chaos.
So companies are increasingly turning to patch management software, to ensure that these changes are implemented in a controlled and compliant way, with the least impact on critical systems.
The challenge for patch management solutions
The overriding challenge for this software, is the complexity of the IT environment in many companies. The plethora of platforms and the fact that new ones emerge all the time, makes it difficult to future-proof any patch management software. No one wants software that works on some parts of the IT architecture and not on others. And some of the trickiest areas to manage are mobile platforms which are constantly being changed and developed.
What to look for in patch management software
First, look for software that supports all of your operating systems, applications and platforms. Accept that you may need to buy an add-in option to get full patch management for mobile devices and operating systems.
Second, if you have specialist requirements, such as needing to patch applications running remotely, or on cloud-based servers, check that the patch management software is capable of doing this.
Third, make sure the software will integrate with any other system management software your company uses.
And lastly, as always with any supplied software, check the vendor support. If your company has to apply an emergency patch at the weekend, the IT staff will want to be able to talk to the vendor if necessary.