4. Validate and Report – To verify patches have been properly installed, IT managers need to validate and report on key systems and applications. This step provides final assurance that the patch process is complete.
The bottom line
Return on investment (ROI) is a mantra in business, and for good reason – companies want to know that the technology investments they make today will protect them from losses in the future. Based on extensive research and real-world examples, automated patch management can provide a clear ROI because it results in significant productivity gains for end users and administrators alike. Specifically, such systems help improve productivity in two key areas:
- automating the manual process of patching systems and solutions, and
- reducing the number of successful attacks against identified vulnerabilities.
Each step in the patch management process expends resources, but automating the process significantly reduces the total hours required for managing the process to completion. Patch management systems can dramatically improve performance for IT administrators responsible for patching systems, moving the patch management process from a manual, ad-hoc series of steps to an automated system that installs key structures and processes designed to achieve significant time and cost gains.
The most important benefit of a patch management system may lie in its ability to reduce risk. Successfully patched computer systems can eliminate known vulnerabilities and therefore reduce the instances and impact of attacks – preventing the ensuing loss of data, privacy and reputation often experienced by companies suffering an attack. Using automated patch management as a proactive security measure actually not only reduces the total number of successful attacks against systems, but also reduces the propagation of attacks.
Risk reduction protects against qualitative losses to reputation, legal action and competition. Such benefits can be even more significant to an organization than the baseline time and costs savings achieved through improvements to the overall patch management process. Although lost productivity of end-users is quantifiable, it’s usually not something that can be recovered directly. Giving employees, contractors and business partners the ability to conduct business without disruption can be a significant benefit to companies.
Ensuring network security through automated patch management is no simple task. It requires diligence to stay informed and secure. However, companies that understand risk and proactive security will find that the investments made in an automated patch management process far outweigh the costs.
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