Patch Management: Challenges and Benefits
Software Update Management ConsultingSoftware update management is a critical and complicated task. Prompt and correctly managed patching optimizes security, regulatory compliance, uptime, and capability. Haphazard software update management can cause security gaps, compatibility issues, slow or inconsistent performance, needless offline stretches, or loss of important functions. Patching entails more than periodic updates of operating systems and apps for servers and user machines. Firmware updates can be a vital for peripherals such as printers and scanners, network infrastructure appliances such as switches and Wi-Fi APs, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices such as alarms and health monitors.

Software Update Management Services

Progent's Patch Management services can oversee IoT devices like alarms and robotics

The update process can present a range of challenges that vary for various environments. Assets that may need updating can be on site, in a public or private cloud, on the road, or in the offices of remote workers. Environments may support any combination of Windows, Linux, Apple macOS, and Google operating systems and applications. Some updates can be installed programmatically and at scale with tools like Microsoft Configuration Manager, Intune, or Azure Automation Update. Other updates must be implemented manually. Updating for vital systems must be timed to avoid business disruption. For some mission-critical environments, updates must be thoroughly tested before being approved for production.

Progent's support services for patch management provide businesses of all sizes a versatile and affordable alternative for evaluating, testing, scheduling, applying, and documenting updates to your dynamic IT system. Besides optimizing the security and performance of your information system, Progent's software and firmware update management programs free up time for your IT team to focus on strategic initiatives that return maximum business value to your information system.

Patch Management Consultants

Patch management is a closed-loop process central to your risk management strategy

Progent's Software Update Management Activities
Progent offers regular and custom service programs for software and firmware patching. These managed services allow you to outsource some or all of your company's software update management tasks to a network services organization with over two decades of background providing network design, deployment, and support to companies of all sizes globally. Progent operates in close conjunction with your network management team to determine the scope of the services you need. Programs available from Progent for software update include:

  • Discover network assets: This can include key platforms like Exchange and SQL, web-facing physical and virtual servers, desktops and mobile endpoints, security devices such as VPN controllers, and network infrastructure devices like switches and wireless access points.
  • Identify assets to be placed under management: Progent's experts will collaborate with your IT team to select which of your IT resources you choose for continuing software update management services. Progent offers a variety of standard programs that target certain types of assets and Progent can also create specialized service programs to accommodate your particular needs.
  • Implement patch management tools: Progent is familiar with a wide selection of patch installation tools and update tracking reporting systems. Examples of tools include Azure Update Management for cloud-hosted resources, System Center Configuration Manager for on-premises resources, Microsoft Intune for mobile devices, IT Glue for documentation, plus a selection of modern anti-virus products. Combined, these products allow you to deploy and track updates for IT resources residing in public and private clouds, on site, on the road, at branch offices, and in the houses of at-home workers.
  • Analyze patch currency and carry out risk analysis of uninstalled patches: For the most part, systems with up-to-date patching are more secure and stable than those with inconsistent patching. Still, some patches are rushed into production and have the potential to disturb essential network processes by causing compatibility problems, system instability, or unfamiliar changes to end-user experiences. Progent can help clients to determine which updates pose a risk to your organization's network, or which patches should be given an urgent priority because they block an imminent cybersecurity attack. Progent's experience with update management services can help you to maintain a safe network without sacrificing business value.
  • Develop a software update management program: Progent's team of experts can assist in designing and managing a software update management program that aligns with your particular needs. Progent offers standard and specialized software update management programs and can assist with both programmatic and manual patching. Progent can manage business-critical resources only, all updateable resources, or anything in between.
  • Patch testing: Even the biggest networks such as Amazon AWS and Azure have had major outages that resulted from updates that were not thoroughly tested before being applied to production systems. For businesses with zero room for service disruption, Progent can assist to develop test environments that allow you to make sure that the latest updates will not cause reliability issues for your network.
  • Prioritize and schedule updates: Progent can assist you to determine which updates should be performed immediately and which can be delayed so as to reduce business interruption. Certain key industry standards, such as the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, mandate that the most critical security updates be installed within a certain timeframe.
  • Document update history and status: Progent's standard update management programs include the creation of a centralized knowledge base for tracking the update level of every monitored resource. This streamlines the task of locating where updates can be accessed and includes patch release dates, related notes, and other useful data required for a comprehensive update management system.
  • Troubleshoot update failures: Updates to some core entities like an OS or app server can result in unexpected compatibility or stability problems, most commonly with outdated or home-grown applications or older devices. Progent has the breadth of knowledge to help you to identify and resolve problems that may appear as a result of deploying a patch.
Patch Management for Infrastructure Devices from Cisco and Other Vendors
Software and firmware patches are regularly released for network infrastructure appliances such as firewalls, routers, wireless controllers, and Wi-Fi APs. These patches typically are designed to improve cybersecurity, enhance features, or correct stability and compatibility issues. Managing updates for these infrastructure devices can pose a hassle, especially in mixed-vendor networks and systems that have a combination of on-premises data centers, at-home workers, regional offices, and cloud-based assets. In addition to tracking and accessing updates, network managers have to verify that infrastructure devices have sufficient disk storage and that patches are transferred uncorrupted and operate properly.

Progent has delivered high-end help for Cisco infrastructure appliances for over twenty years and also can provide technical guidance for products from other major network companies such as Juniper, SonicWall, and CheckPoint. Progent's services for software update management can help you to expand your patching solution to cover network appliances as well as physical and virtual servers, desktop and mobile endpoints, apps, and IoT devices.

Software Update Management Support for Network Infrastructure Devices

Progent offers patch management expertise for network infrastructure devices from Cisco and other leading vendors

Progent's Standard and Specialized Software Update Management Programs
Progent provides a variety of standard software update management plans that include scheduled backup, reporting, and documentation. Cost is determined by the class and number of devices enrolled. Extra support such as building environments for pre-installation patch piloting are billed at normal rates. Specialized packages are also offered and typically cover unique devices and/or applications.

PROACTIVE Server Patch Management Services

On Prem or Private Cloud-hosted Server:
  • ProSight Performance Monitoring
  • Critical Application Maintenance - Exchange, SQL, etc.
  • 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
  • AIX Scan - Active Directory and report yearly
  • IT Glue access control and asset documentation
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 time and material Rates
  • IT Glue access control and asset documentation
Onsite 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 time and material 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 - 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 Service-Level Agreement - Add-on service

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

Initial Patching Event Additional Costs:
Initial updating will have an additional cost for each server or network device to provide for review and documentation of current patch level as well as any more information needed for properly providing the patching services as described above. If many patches are necessary that demand extra time for the initial updating, Progent will present any estimates beyond the standard update cost.

Other Services Available:

Download Progent's Patch Management Services Datasheet
To download a datasheet about the features of Progent Software Update Managed Services, select:
Progent Patch Management Services Datasheet. (PDF - 330 KB)

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

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