The Administrator Shortcut Guide to Patch Management

by Rod Trent


There is a great need for effective security in the IT market. The result of exploited administrative, product, and physical vulnerabilities can result in a company’s significant loss of productivity as well as considerable monetary expense. The Administrator Shortcut Guide to Patch Management explores overall security as well as provides a detailed discussion of the critical security role of patch management.


Chapter 1: Why is Patch Management Important?

For the majority of companies, security has become the top issue for planning and implementing technologies, and effective security in today’s environment goes well beyond simply running antivirus applications and installing firewalls. Total security also encompasses user and IT staff education and training. And key to gaining overall security, as we will explore in this guide, is patch management.

To lay the foundation for a more detailed discussion of patch management in later chapters, this chapter provides an overview of the barriers to implementing and maintaining a secure environment, the state of security in the computing world, and potential vulnerabilities in any organization. This groundwork will enable us to explore the crucial idea behind patch management: Patch management is not a one time operation but a series of ongoing steps and processes to bring the environment within the most current secure specifications. Let’s begin with a focus on overall security, which will illustrate and emphasize the importance of patch management in a successful security strategy.

Chapter 2: Patch Management Best Practices

Several companies and security patch administrators consider the patching process to be a single step that provides a secure computing landscape. In reality, the patching process is a continuous cycle that must be strictly followed. Each step in the process must be tuned and modified based on previous successes and failures. As many realize, patching computers is a fact of life as part of the defense in depth security strategy. By spending time up front to create policies and procedures, companies can minimize the time and resource requirements needed to fulfill the patching demands.

In this chapter, you will read about each step in the patch management process. Throughout this discussion, keep in mind that each step can only be performed successfully in the future if the lines of communication are clear and each step is documented accurately. Documentation and communication are critical to the patch management process.

Chapter 3: Patch Management Tools

This chapter discusses several considerations that are important when determining the patch management application that is right for your environment. Although each environment is different and each company's business needs will determine the specific tool-selection criteria, this chapter provides several key areas that need to be included in your fact-finding research for choosing a patch management product.

This chapter will also delve into the various patch management application types and the different methods they use to provide patch management support. To illustrate the available capabilities and features, we will explore a few of the popular tools.