Importance Of Patch Management For MSP’S

patch management for msp’s

Patch management has become an integral part of IT and is crucial for ensuring the safety and efficiency of an enterprise. The significance of these seemingly minor updates lies in the fact that companies that lack an effective patch management solution face a much higher risk of cyberattacks. Patching hardware and software is important for other reasons as well, which we will explore in this article. Additionally, we will discuss the challenges of software updates and patch management for both end users and IT professionals from best professional services automation providers. Finally, we will take a closer look at how patch management tools can alleviate the burden on the IT team or MSP.

What is Patch Management?

A patch refers to an update to software or firmware that addresses security vulnerabilities or bugs. These updates are a routine aspect of a software provider’s efforts to fix issues with their product or address any security gaps discovered after the product’s release. Patches can also serve as a method for users to receive significant updates to the software’s version, which could add functionalities or enhance the user experience. Software integration may require patching as a means of ensuring system compatibility as individual tools evolve over time.

To ensure the security and up-to-date functionality of software and hardware, it is essential to implement an effective patch management process. This involves monitoring and keeping track of patches, with the aim of ensuring that the software and hardware are fully secure and up-to-date. It is important that patch management procedures are efficient and timely, while at the same time minimizing compatibility issues, errors, and downtime.

What is a Patch Management Policy?

A patch management policy refers to the organized approach documented by an organization or its IT team in handling patching processes. It enables an organization to roll out patches efficiently and swiftly by detecting the system components that require patching, prioritizing their updates, and validating the patches to ascertain their compatibility with the existing environment to minimize downtime. The rising number of software vulnerabilities exploited by hackers makes it critical for organizations to have a robust patch management policy. The policy should adequately document and address the following areas:

  • Tracking, monitoring, and reporting
  • Prioritization
  • Assignment of roles and points of contact
  • Detecting and scheduling
  • Patch deployment
  • Testing

In later sections of this article, we will explore the benefits of utilizing patch management software. These tools are capable of reducing the task of managing updates substantially by simplifying or automating many of the policy issues mentioned above.

Why Is Patch Management Important For Msps?

While it’s true that the number of cyberattacks has been increasing, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risks. Unfortunately, mistakes can happen and there are often security oversights that make it easier for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. However, adopting an effective patch management policy or system can help mitigate these risks before they result in costly breaches.

4 ways effective patch management can enhance your organization’s security.

  1. Ensure proper coordination in security measures taken by IT and other departments Effective patch management can help ensure that all departments in your organization are on the same page when it comes to security. Rather than each department implementing its own security measures in isolation, patch management can provide a coordinated and unified approach to security.
  1. Maintain regulatory compliance and cybersecurity insurance Effective patch management can help to maintain regulatory compliance by ensuring that all security updates and patches are installed in a timely manner. This can help your organization avoid fines and penalties for non-compliance. Additionally, maintaining proper patch management can also help you maintain cybersecurity insurance, which is increasingly important in today’s digital landscape.
  1. Automate the security channel Manually managing security updates and patches can be time-consuming and prone to errors. Effective patch management systems can automate the process, making it faster, more efficient, and more accurate. Automation can reduce the time spent on manual tasks, freeing up IT staff to focus on more strategic security initiatives.
  1. Protect mission-critical technology systems Effective patch management can help ensure that your organization’s mission-critical technology systems are protected against security threats. By regularly updating and patching these systems, you can reduce the risk of security breaches and keep your organization’s operations running smoothly.

Patch Management Challenges

Time consumption in Patching

Keeping up with software vulnerabilities and patches can be overwhelming for end users. Unlike Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday, most software companies don’t have a regular patch release schedule, which can make it difficult to know when to update. With companies potentially using dozens of applications, each with its own developer and update schedule, staying on top of patches can take up a significant amount of time and effort.

Less Control Over IT Inventory

In certain IT environments, particularly in self-managed small businesses rather than those managed by MSPs, connection between devices and software can be haphazardly assembled. In such situations, inventory management may be lacking, making it difficult to determine which devices require patching, presenting challenges when attempting to patch numerous machines.

Lack of Desire to Deploy Every Patch

While some users may tackle the challenge of applying patches to their systems, many will attempt to take shortcuts by only applying what they consider to be the most crucial ones. However, determining which patches are indeed critical can be a difficult task for the average end user. As a result, an essential security update may end up being overlooked inevitably.

Failures in Patches

At times, system updates may lead to a period of service unavailability. This interruption can occur due to reasons such as an unsuccessful download or corrupt files, errors made by people, or compatibility problems. To minimize the possibility of such events, it’s advisable to conduct thorough testing of updates in a separate testing environment prior to their deployment.

Vulnerability management

Software vulnerabilities are a persistent problem in cybersecurity. Even when one security flaw is fixed through a patch, new vulnerabilities may arise. In some cases, updates intended to address a vulnerability may introduce new weaknesses. This highlights the importance of patch management, a process that is ongoing and requires continual vigilance. Those working in cybersecurity are well aware of the need to stay up to date with the latest patches and security updates in order to protect against potential threats.


Patch management is often viewed as a tedious security task by both IT professionals and end users, which can distract from more important matters. However, application vulnerabilities are predicted to continue as the most common external attack method, making it a critical aspect of maintaining cybersecurity. To effectively address this issue, all organizations need to prioritize patch managements and establish policies that cover all essential steps. Additionally, they must ensure consistent execution and appoint someone responsible for monitoring patches across their entire network. Automated tools, like Gorelo RMM and professional services automation, can make this process more efficient by covering all steps of patch managements and integrating with other essential functions like Remote Monitoring and Management and backup and recovery.