Software Update Management: Problems and Solutions
Software Update Management ConsultingSoftware update management is a critical and complicated task. Timely and correctly managed updating maximizes security, regulatory compliance, uptime, and capability. Sporadic patch management can result in security vulnerabilities, compatibility issues, slow or erratic performance, excessive offline stretches, or unavailability of key features. Patching involves more than periodic updates of an OS and apps for servers and endpoints. Firmware patches can be a critical for peripheral devices like printers and scanners, network infrastructure appliances like routers and Wi-Fi access points, and Internet-of-Things devices such as alarms and health monitors.

Software Update Management Consultants

Progent's Software Update Management services can oversee IoT devices like sensors and robotics

The update process can present a range of complications that vary from network to network. Resources that may require patching can reside on-premises, in a public or private cloud, mobile, or in the offices of telecommuters. Networks may support any combination of Microsoft Windows, Linux, Apple macOS, and Google operating systems and apps. Some updates can be installed programmatically and at virtually any scale using management tools like Microsoft Configuration Manager, Microsoft Intune, or Azure Update. Other updates must be implemented by hand. Updating for core resources must be scheduled to minimize business disruption. In some line-of-business environments, patches must be carefully validated prior to being approved for production.

Progent's managed services for software and firmware patch management provide organizations of any size a versatile and affordable solution for evaluating, validating, scheduling, implementing, and tracking updates to your dynamic information system. Besides maximizing the safety and performance of your IT network, Progent's update management services open up time for your in-house IT team to focus on crucial initiatives that deliver top business value to your information system.

Patch Management Consultants

Patch management is a closed-loop activity critical to your risk management plan

Progent's Patch Management Activities
Progent provides regular and custom service packages for patch management. These managed services permit you to offload some or all of your company's software update management tasks to a network support organization with over two decades of background providing network planning, deployment, and maintenance to companies of all sizes globally. Progent works in close conjunction with your network management team to determine the scope of the managed services you require. Programs available from Progent for patch include:

  • Discover system assets: This can cover key platforms such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL, web-facing physical and virtual servers, workstations and mobile endpoints, security devices such as firewalls, and network appliances such as switches and wireless APs.
  • Select assets to be managed: Progent's experts will work with your IT team to select which of your IT resources you choose for ongoing software update management services. Progent provides a selection of standard service programs that target certain types of items and Progent can also create specialized service programs to meet your unique requirements.
  • Deploy software update management utilities: Progent is experienced with a broad range of software update tools and update tracking databases. Examples of tools include Azure Automation Update Management for cloud-hosted resources, Microsoft Configuration Manager for local resources, Intune for mobile computers, IT Glue for documentation, plus a selection of advanced anti-virus platforms. Together, these products enable you to deploy and monitor patches for IT resources residing in cloud environments, on-premises, on the move, at branch offices, and in the residences of telecommuters.
  • Determine update currency and perform risk assessment of missing updates: Generally, systems with up-to-date patching are more secure and dependable than those with sporadic patching. However, occasionally software updates are rushed into distribution and carry the potential to disrupt essential business operations by introducing compatibility problems, system instability, or confusing changes to end-user environments. Progent can assist you to determine which patches carry a risk to your company's network, or which patches should be assigned a high priority because they block an imminent security threat. Progent's background providing update management support can assist your organization to maintain a safe network without sacrificing business value.
  • Develop a software update management program: Progent's group of experts can help in devising and administering a patch management program that aligns with your business and security needs. Progent offers standard and specialized patch management programs and can help with programmatic and manual updating. Progent can handle business-critical resources exclusively, all patchable assets, or anything in between.
  • Patch testing: Even the biggest networks such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure have experienced major outages that resulted from updates that were not sufficiently tested before being rolled out to production environments. For businesses with no tolerance for service disruption, Progent can help create pilot systems that permit you to make sure that the latest patches will not introduce reliability issues for your network.
  • Prioritize and schedule updates: Progent can help you to decide which updates should be performed quickly and which can be postponed in order to minimize service interruption. Certain key industry standards, like the PCI Data Security Standard, mandate that the most critical security updates be installed within a specified timeframe.
  • Document patch history and status: Progent's regular update management service programs include the creation of a centralized knowledge base for tracking the update level of every monitored resource. This simplifies the task of locating where patches can be downloaded and specifies release dates, related advisories, and other useful information needed for a complete update management solution.
  • Fix update failures: Updates to some key items such as an operating system or app server can cause unexpected compatibility or stability issues, especially with outdated or home-grown applications or older hardware. Progent has the scope of knowledge to help you to understand and resolve problems that may appear due to deploying a software update.
Patch Management for Network Devices from Cisco and Other Vendors
Software updates are regularly developed for network infrastructure appliances such as firewalls, routers, wireless controllers, and Wi-Fi access points. These updates typically are intended to harden security, add or fix functionality, or mitigate reliability problems. Managing updates for these network infrastructure devices can pose a challenge, particularly in mixed-vendor networks and systems that have a combination of on-premises datacenters, at-home workers, branch offices, and cloud-based resources. In addition to tracking and accessing updates, network managers have to verify that network appliances have enough disk storage and that patches are loaded uncorrupted and work properly.

Progent has delivered high-end help for Cisco infrastructure products for over two decades and also offers expertise for products from other top vendors such as Juniper, Fortinet, and CheckPoint. Progent's services for patch management can assist your organization to expand your software update system to include network appliances along with servers, desktop and mobile endpoints, applications software, and Internet-of-Things devices.

Patch Management Support for Network Appliances

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

Progent's Standard and Custom Patch Management Programs
Progent offers a variety of regular software update management packages that include backup services, extensive reporting, and thorough documentation. Pricing is based on the type and number of entities enrolled. Additional support including creating systems for pre-installation patch piloting are billed at time and material rates. Specialized packages are also available and usually handle unique devices and/or apps.

PROACTIVE Server Patch Management Services

On Prem or Private Cloud-hosted Server: Microsoft Azure Cloud-hosted Servers Patch Management:
  • Compliance scan of Windows and Linux servers
  • Update compliance evaluation report for enabled machines
  • Scheduled Patching and Preventative Maintenance
  • License & Asset documentation and management
  • Managed Anti-Virus - Current AV system
  • Begin server backup once complete
  • Additional Support Invoiced at T&M Rates
  • IT Glue access management and resources documentation
Onsite or Virtual Workstation:
  • ProSight Availability Monitoring
  • Operating System & Third Party Patch Management
  • Scheduled Patching and Maintenance Maintenance
  • Managed Anti-Virus - current AV system
  • Hosted Anti-Spam - Spam Hero
  • Additional Services Billed at T&M Rates
  • IT Glue access management and resources documentation
BASIC Server Patch Management

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

Security Critical Patches - completed within 48 hours of Progent being notified - invoiced only when required

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

Original Patching Process Extra Costs:
First-time updating will be subject to an additional cost for each server or network item to enable capture and documentation of current update level and any more documentation required for properly managing the patching services as described previously. If multiple updates are needed that require extra time for the initial patching, Progent will present any cost estimates above the regular patching cost.

Additional Services Available:

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

Contact a Progent Expert about Software/Firmware Update Management Solutions
To find out more about Progent's software/firmware update management services, call Progent at 800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

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