Patch Management: Challenges and Solutions
Software Update Management ExpertisePatch management is an essential and complex process. Timely and correctly managed updating maximizes cybersecurity, regulatory compliance, availability, and capability. Haphazard software update management can cause security gaps, compatibility problems, sluggish or erratic performance, excessive downtime, or loss of important features. Patching entails more than occasional updates of an OS and apps for servers and user machines. Firmware patches can be a critical for peripherals such as printers and scanners, infrastructure appliances such as switches and Wi-Fi access points, and IoT devices like alarms and health monitors.

Software Update Management Services

Progent's Software Update Management programs can oversee IoT devices like sensors and health monitors

The patching process can pose a range of challenges that can differ for various environments. Assets that may need updating can be on-premises, in a public or private cloud, mobile, or in the offices of telecommuters. Networks may support any mix of Windows, Linux, Apple, and Google operating systems and apps. Some patches can be installed automatically and at scale with tools like Microsoft Configuration Manager, Intune, or Azure Automation Update. Others must be performed manually. Patching for vital resources must be scheduled to avoid business interruption. In certain line-of-business environments, patches must be thoroughly tested before being applied to production.

Progent's managed services for patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and cost-effective option for assessing, testing, scheduling, implementing, and documenting updates to your ever-evolving information system. In addition to optimizing the safety and performance of your IT network, Progent's patch management services free up time for your IT staff to focus on strategic initiatives and tasks that deliver maximum business advantage to your network.

Patch Management Consultants

Patch management is a closed-loop lifecycle central to your risk management plan

Progent's Software Update Management Activities
Progent provides regular and specialized service packages for patch management. These managed services allow you to offload some or all of your company's patch management activity to an IT services organization with over 20 years of experience delivering network design, deployment, and support to businesses of all sizes globally. Progent works in close conjunction with your IT management team to determine the scope of the managed services you need. Programs available from Progent for patch include:

  • Discover network assets: This can cover business-critical platforms such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server, web-facing physical and virtual servers, desktops and mobile endpoints, security products like firewalls, and infrastructure appliances such as routers and Wi-Fi access points.
  • Select resources to be managed: Progent will confer with your IT team to determine which of your IT resources you choose for continuing software update management services. Progent provides a selection of standard programs that cover certain types of assets and Progent can also create custom programs to accommodate your unique requirements.
  • Implement software update management tools: Progent is familiar with a broad range of patch installation platforms and patch inventory reporting systems. Available tools include Azure Update for cloud-based assets, Microsoft Configuration Manager for on-premises resources, Intune for mobile computers, IT Glue for IT asset documentation, as well as an arsenal of modern AV platforms. Together, these tools enable you to automate and monitor patches for network resources residing in cloud environments, on-premises, on the move, at district offices, and in the houses of telecommuters.
  • Determine update currency and perform risk assessment of uninstalled patches: For the most part, environments with up-to-date patching are more secure and stable than those with inconsistent updates. Still, some patches are hurried into distribution and have the potential to disrupt essential business operations by causing compatibility issues, system shutdowns, or unfamiliar changes to end-user experiences. Progent can help clients to determine which patches carry a risk to your organization's network, or which patches should be given a high priority because they defend against a major security threat. Progent's background with update management services can help you to maintain a protected network without compromising business value.
  • Develop a software update management service program: Progent's team of experts can help in designing and managing a software update management service program that fits your particular needs. Progent can provide standard and custom software update management programs and can assist with automated as well as manual patching. Progent can manage business-critical assets exclusively, all patchable resources, or somewhere in between.
  • Patch testing: Even the biggest networks like Amazon AWS and Azure have experienced widespread outages caused by software updates that were insufficiently tested before being rolled out to live systems. For businesses with no room for downtime, Progent can help develop pilot systems that permit you to verify that the latest updates will not introduce reliability problems for your network.
  • Prioritize and schedule patches: Progent can help you to determine which patches should be performed quickly and which can be safely delayed in order to minimize service interruption. Some worldwide regulatory standards, such as the PCI Data Security Standard, require that critical security updates be implemented within a specified time period.
  • Track patch history and status: Progent's regular patch management programs include the creation of a centralized database for tracking the update level of every subscribed asset. This simplifies the job of locating where software, firmware, or driver updates can be found and includes patch release dates, release advisories, and other useful information required for a complete update management solution.
  • Debug update problems: Patches to some core items such as an OS or application server can cause unexpected compatibility or stability issues, especially with legacy or custom software or older devices. Progent has the breadth of knowledge to assist you to understand and mitigate issues that may crop up due to applying an update.
Patch Management for Network Infrastructure Devices from Cisco and Other Providers
Software and firmware patches are regularly developed for network infrastructure devices like firewalls, routers, wireless controllers, and Wi-Fi APs. These patches typically are designed to improve security, enhance features, or mitigate reliability issues. Managing patches for these network devices can be a challenge, especially in multi-vendor environments and systems that include a combination of on-site datacenters, at-home workers, branch offices, and cloud-hosted assets. In addition to monitoring and acquiring updates, IT managers must ensure that network appliances have enough free disk storage and that patches are transferred cleanly and work properly.

Progent has delivered advanced assistance for Cisco networking appliances for more than two decades and also can provide technical guidance for devices from other top network companies such as Juniper, Fortinet, and CheckPoint. Progent's end-to-end services for patch management can assist you to expand your software update solution to include network appliances as well as physical and virtual servers, endpoints, applications software, and Internet-of-Things devices.

Patch Management Support for Network Devices

Progent can provide patch management support for infrastructure appliances from Cisco and other leading vendors

Progent's Standard and Custom Patch Management Programs
Progent offers a variety of standard patch management packages that include backup, reporting, and thorough documentation. Pricing is based on the type and quantity of entities covered. Extra services such as creating systems for pre-installation patch piloting are invoiced at normal rates. Custom plans are also offered and usually handle unusual hardware and/or applications.

PROACTIVE Server Software Update Management

On Prem or Private Cloud Server: Azure Cloud Servers Patch Management:
  • Compliance scan of all Windows and Linux servers
  • Update compliance assessment results for enabled machines
  • Scheduled Patching and Preventative Maintenance
  • License & Asset reporting and management
  • Managed Anti-Virus - Current AV system
  • Initiate Server backup once complete
  • Additional Support Billed at T&M Rates
  • IT Glue access control and asset documentation
On Prem or Virtual Workstation:
  • ProSight Availability Monitoring
  • OS & 3rd Party Patch Management
  • Scheduled Preventative Maintenance
  • Managed Anti-Virus - current AV system
  • Hosted Anti-Spam - Spam Hero
  • Additional Support Billed at T&M Rates
  • IT Glue access control and asset documentation
BASIC Server Patch Management

Managed Patch both Physical and Virtual Servers: On Premises or Virtual Workstation Patch Management: Server or Workstation Security Service-Level Agreement (SLA) - Add on service

Security Critical Patches - applied within 48 hours of Progent being notified - invoiced only when needed

PROACTIVE Network Device Patching

Internet Facing Hardware - Managed Devices (Security appliances, firewalls, routers): Internal Network Hardware - Managed devices (wireless controllers, Wi-Fi access points, switches): Network Device Security SLA - Add-on service

Security Critical Patches - applied within 48 hours of Progent being notified - invoiced only when needed

Initial Patching Event Extra Costs:
Initial patching will be subject to an extra cost for each server or network device to provide for review and recording of current update level and any more documentation required for effectively providing the ongoing patching as defined above. If many patches are needed that require extra work for the initial updating, Progent will provide any estimates beyond the normal update cost.

Additional Services Offered:

Download the Software Update Managed Services Datasheet
For a datasheet about the features of Progent Patch Management Services, click:
Progent Software Update Managed Services Datasheet. (PDF - 330 KB)

Talk to Progent about Patch Management Services
To learn more about Progent's software/firmware update management offerings, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or see Contact Progent.

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