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The Importance of Server Patching

January 4, 2022

By Peter Barnett

Cybersecurity is paramount in this digital age, but it’s not always on the minds of busy business owners. Sever patching should be performed routinely to keep businesses and accounts safe. However, patching isn’t always done when it should be. One instance of this occurred in early 2021 when over 60,000 vulnerable Microsoft Exchange servers were found unpatched for many weeks. Although patching servers is more work than updating something like a single computer, it’s essential that it gets done. By learning some server patching best practices and automating the process, you can quickly and easily keep your business secure.

What Is Server Patching?

Server patching is the process of adding fixes and updates to your servers. This applies to all of your servers (if you run more than one), including the operating systems and applications within the servers. Server patching is a complex process that needs to be done both quickly and accurately to minimize risks and maximize security.

Why Is It Important To Patch Servers?

Patches can improve server performance, but more importantly, they can update the server’s security. This will ensure your servers are protected against cybercriminals. Server patching may not seem that important for cybersecurity, but too many businesses learn their lesson the hard way. This 2019 Ponemon Institute study revealed that 60 percent of companies who had experienced a data breach were aware of server patches as a way to fix their security vulnerabilities, but they had not implemented those precautions.

Patching Servers: Best Practices

To ensure that your server patches are implemented swiftly and smoothly, be sure to follow these steps:

Establish a schedule

Creating a schedule to check for and implement patches will ensure that your servers are updated regularly, and that important patches won’t be missed or simply forgotten. It’s recommended that you check for patches at least once per week. Signing up for alerts, such as Microsoft security alerts, will keep you updated on critical patches in between your regular schedule. But for more efficient patching of bigger IT infrastructures, admins prefer to utilize solutions for automated patch management

Prioritize patches

Some patches are more vital than others, especially the ones that are meant to fix vulnerabilities in your system and keep your servers protected. Always prioritize patches for known and critical vulnerabilities over minimal-risk security patches and performance fixes. When it comes to protection, speed and efficiency are crucial so create patch management policies.

Test patches before deployments

To ensure compatibility with the patch’s system requirements, it’s crucial that server patches are tested before they’re deployed. This can be done through a replicated virtual environment in which the patch has been included. This will allow you to determine if the update will create any issues, as well as discover the cause of the issue. This makes it possible to fix and prevent problems from occurring once the patch is deployed. Without testing, it is possible for the server patch to conflict with other systems and interfere with vital pieces of your infrastructure.

The Benefits of Centralized Patch Management

A large amount of time and work goes into the server patching process and subsequent management. Investing in centralized patch management is worth the effort. With server patch management software, more time is freed up for you and your employees while the patch management system makes sure nothing is missed across all of your OS, third-party applications, and tools. Here are some of the many ways the Action1 patch management solution can reduce your workload and improve your business’s security:

  • Why patch servers manually when you can automate the patching process? The automated patch management system will go through the steps on your behalf, from checking for missing updates to completing compliance reports — saving you time in the process.
  • You can manage server patching from a single system, force windows update remotely, and patch third-party software.
  • Get all of the information you need in one spot, including a list of patches and updates, alerts for newly released updates, and comprehensive reports on the history and status of your server updates.

Get started with remote monitoring and management tools to save your company time and effort. Sign up with Action1 to get started and use the RMM on 100 endpoints for free with no expiration date.

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