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Strategic Server Patch Management to Safeguard Your IT Landscape

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Consider this scenario: many vulnerabilities that don’t have a patch are present in the servers and get wildly exploited.  These vulnerabilities will act as an open door to hackers, inviting them to have complete control over organizational information. To prevent this situation, an organization should have a strategic approach to its server patch management process. However, the process is not without its challenges.

Organizations often struggle with patch compatibility, testing requirements, and minimizing downtime, which can delay the deployment of crucial updates. Despite these hurdles, the need for diligent patch management is clear, as it remains one of the most effective defenses against the ever-evolving landscape of cyber threats, particularly those targeting unpatched servers.

How do you overcome these challenges?

Best Practices of Server Patch Management

To enhance an organization’s security posture and reduce the risk of cyber incidents, here are a few key best practices for server patch management:

1. Regularly Schedule and Automate Patches: Implement a regular schedule for checking and applying patches. Automation is a critical part of the server patch management process; there are tools that can help streamline automation, ensuring that patches are applied consistently and without any delay.

2. Prioritize Patches Based on Risk: Not all detected patches are equal. Prioritize patches based on the business impact, technical impact, CVSS score, and severity of the vulnerabilities they address. Always prioritize the deployment of Critical security patches immediately.

3. Test Patches Before Deployment: Have two environments in your IT landscape, one production and one for testing the patches. Test patches in a test environment before deploying them across your network. This helps ensure that they don’t cause unexpected issues with system performance or compatibility and helps in avoiding server downtime.

4. Maintain an Updated Inventory of All Assets: Keep an up-to-date inventory of all hardware and software assets present within the organization. This helps ensure that no system is overlooked during the patching process.

5. Ensure Compliance with Policies and Regulations: Ensure that your patch management practices comply with relevant industry standards and regulations to protect sensitive data and avoid legal penalties.

6. Have a Rollback Strategy: There might be a scenario where a patch can cause issues. Have a rollback strategy in place to quickly restore systems to their previous state.

7. Use Patch Management Tools: Utilize patch management tools to keep track of available patches, deployment status, and compliance reporting. These tools can also help manage patches across various operating systems and applications.

8. Educate and Train Staff: Educate your IT staff about the importance of patch management and train them in effective server patch management procedures and best practices.

9. Document and Review Patch Management Process: Keep thorough documentation of your patch management processes and regularly review and update them to improve efficiency and address new challenges.

Why is Server Patch Management Important?

1. Security: The most important reason for server patch management is security. Servers often hold critical data and provide essential services. Patching helps fix vulnerabilities and other security risks that hackers could potentially exploit.

2. Compliance: Many organizations across industry sectors, such as BFSI, Healthcare, etc., have regulatory mandates requiring them to keep servers updated with the latest security patches to protect sensitive data. Regular patch management ensures compliance with these regulatory standards, helping them avoid legal and financial penalties.

3. Reducing Downtime: By proactively managing and applying patches, organizations can avoid unplanned downtime resulting from a cyberattack or system failure due to unaddressed vulnerabilities.

4. Cost-Effectiveness: While patch management requires resources, it is generally far less costly than dealing with the aftermath of a cyberattack, which can include data recovery, legal fees, fines, and reputational damage.


The strategic approach to server patch management is crucial in today’s cybersecurity landscape. The reality of vulnerabilities, particularly those without immediate patches, poses a significant risk to organizations. A robust patch management process enhances security, ensures compliance, reduces downtime, and proves to be cost-effective in the long run.

Adopting best practices like regular scheduling, automation, prioritizing based on risk, testing before deployment, and maintaining an updated asset inventory will help organizations navigate these hurdles effectively. Choose a patch management tool that is continuous and automatically helps in patching these security risks.

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