Best Patch Management Tools of 2023
By Mike Williams last updated August 10, 2022
The best patch management software makes it simple and easy to manage software updates across your IT infrastructure.
This is important, because with new software vulnerabilities and exploits appearing daily, it's vital to install Windows and application security patches just as soon as they're released. Unfortunately, that's not always easy.
The standard approach to patch management lets every app handle its own updates. You must make sure the apps are set up correctly, allow them to run any standalone updaters, pay attention when they raise alerts, and spot any problems. (Ever run a PC speedup tool, for instance? Some will disable software updaters to improve boot times.)
A dedicated patch manager replaces this chaos with a single central interface to scan multiple apps for updates, report any missing patches it finds, and (sometimes) automatically rectify the situation.
The simplest of these tools work as little more than PC update reminders. They'll warn you when new patches appear, and you then sort out any updates yourself. Sometimes that's a minor hassle, but in some instances it takes mere seconds (in Chrome, click Help > About > Update and the browser sorts out everything else).
The most powerful enterprise-level patch managers can scan systems on your network (often across multiple platforms), detect missing patches (both third-party apps and operating system updates), remotely install them on your preferred schedule, and even roll back any updates if there are problems.
This technology has risks, as well as advantages. If a poorly configured patch manager downloads the wrong update file, for instance, it might break your application, or even affect your entire PC. It's important to choose your manager carefully, and ensure you know how to cope if anything goes wrong.
Here we'll feature the best patch management software platforms currently available on the market.
We've also featured the best endpoint protection software.
A patch management powerhouse for demanding businesses
REASONS TO BUY
+ Scans your entire network
+ Protects desktop and mobile devices
+ Huge number of features
REASONS TO AVOID
- Requires a lot of IT and networking expertise
GFI LanGuard is a comprehensive patch manager for businesses, or anyone with 10 or more systems to protect.
The tool is designed to cover your entire network, and can handle updates for multiple operating systems, including Windows 7-10, Windows Server 2003-2012, along with Mac and assorted Linux distros.
If you prefer to leave your OS to handle its own updates, that could be wise, but GFI LanGuard also supports more than 80 third-party apps.
Although we're mostly interested in patch management, GFI LanGuard also includes industrial-strength network auditing and vulnerability scans. Reports might highlight issues with installed applications, your security tools, mobile devices connecting to your network, open ports, file shares, and more.
Start to install GFI LanGuard and it's immediately obvious that this isn't a product for beginners. It prompted us to install SQL server, then a web server, and even when it was running, it took us a while to find out how to do as much as run a scan.
However, put in the effort and you'll get some very impressive results. Items are organized into lists of missing security updates, non-security updates and Windows service packs and update rollups. You can also view recently installed updates, a handy way to see that all is well. All updates have descriptions, notes on severity, and even a link to the developer's website where you can find out more.
You can opt to update some or all missing patches, either immediately or at a specific time. If you're deploying patches to another computer on your network, you can choose to warn the user beforehand, as well as what happens afterwards (do nothing, shut down, reboot and so on).
A free 30-day trial provides a risk-free way to explore what's on offer. Beware, though, that's not as generous as it sounds: GFI LanGuard comes so crammed with functionality you'll probably wish the test period was longer.
This article is originally posted and published by techradar.
You can find the original article here