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Automox

Automox is the modern, cloud-native endpoint-hardening platform that empowers organizations to remediate vulnerabilities faster than they can be weaponized. This cross-platform solution simplifies and automates critical patching, ...Read more about Automox

NinjaOne

NinjaOne is a leading unified IT management software company that simplifies how IT teams work. MSPs and IT departments can automate, manage, and remediate all their device management tasks within one fast, modern, intuitive platf...Read more about NinjaOne

ConnectWise Automate

ConnectWise Automate (Formerly LabTech) is a cloud-based and on-premise IT automation solution that helps companies track and manage IT assets from a single location. Content management features allow users to share documents an...Read more about ConnectWise Automate

Atera

Atera’s all-in-one platform enables IT professionals to gain access, visibility, and control over their networks and devices from anywhere, so they can work smarter and faster. With Atera, you can manage your entire IT operation ...Read more about Atera

N-central

N-able N-central® is an IT management solution that enables organizations to manage and track IT devices. The solution comes with key features that include patch management, antivirus protection, backup and disaster recovery. The...Read more about N-central

vRx

<-- Patch Everything You Need --> Automatically or manually install all prioritized updates for which a patch is available across your OS and Apps. Focus on the vulnerabilities that have a real probability of being exploited inste...Read more about vRx

XEOX

This cloud-based modular platform is an administration tool that streamlines the remote management and monitoring of Windows IT infrastructures. XEOX provides a central platform for administrating MS Windows client-server configur...Read more about XEOX

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Heimdal Patch & Asset Management

Heimdal Patch & Asset Management is an automated patch management solution with incorporated asset tracking features. With its help, your company can achieve pre-emptive vulnerability management, while at the same time allowing yo...Read more about Heimdal Patch & Asset Management

ManageEngine Endpoint Central

ManageEngine Desktop Central is a mobile device management (MDM) solution designed to help businesses automate, secure, audit, standardize and manage operations across servers, desktops, smartphones, and more. Features include sof...Read more about ManageEngine Endpoint Central

JumpCloud Directory Platform

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is an IT Management software, which helps businesses of all sizes manage devices or workstations including Windows, MacOS, and Linux, access to IT resources, and user identities. The solution provi...Read more about JumpCloud Directory Platform

InvGate Assets

InvGate Assets is a hybrid IT asset management solution that caters to businesses across various industries. The solution can either be deployed on-premise or hosted in the cloud with features such as asset inventory management, ...Read more about InvGate Assets

N-sight

N-able N-sight™ RMM combines remote monitoring and management, remote access, ticketing, and billing capabilities, into one powerful yet easy to use platform that streamlines day-to-operations, combats threats and drives operation...Read more about N-sight

Scalefusion

Scalefusion is a solution that helps businesses manage and control content on corporate devices in lockdown kiosk mode. Key features include wireless internet access, usage reporting, secure browsing, onsite printing, digital sign...Read more about Scalefusion

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud unifies backup, anti-malware, antivirus and endpoint management capabilities (such as vulnerability assessments, patch management, remote access and monitoring, etc.) in one integrated, easy-to-use solu...Read more about Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud

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Pulseway

Pulseway is an integrated IT assets and network monitoring solution designed for IT administrators to remotely monitor and control their business IT resources. The solution supports multi-deployment architecture, allowing the user...Read more about Pulseway

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BatchPatch

BatchPatch is a Windows-based patch management tool designed to help businesses execute software deployments and apply updates or patches remotely across the network. Features include update history, multi-host custom sequencing, ...Read more about BatchPatch

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Kandji

Kandji is the MDM worthy of your Apple devices. Set-up, visibility, and the largest library of pre-built controls — Kandji makes device management beautifully simple and insanely powerful — just the way it should be. Drawing ...Read more about Kandji

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ITarian

ITarian is a cloud-based IT and remote access management solution designed to help organizations connect with clients/employees to monitor devices, troubleshoot issues and handle operations. The patch management functionality lets...Read more about ITarian

Remedyforce

Remedyforce is a service management software built on a Salesforce app cloud and provides reporting, knowledge management, incident and problem management features. The software provides a service desk system so that users can man...Read more about Remedyforce

RG System

RG System is a network monitoring solution designed for managed service providers (MSPs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and office automation companies to monitor, secure and manage IT infrastructures. RG System is a modul...Read more about RG System

Buyers Guide

Last Updated: March 16, 2023

There’s no such thing as perfect software. All software is a work in progress. This is true of all software, whether it’s an early beta release—and is expected to have bugs—or is the latest production version of a widely used platform.

When problems are discovered post-release, vendors issue software patches to fix them. Patches are updates to the software’s underlying code made to repair functionality or fix security vulnerabilities. Since they’re issued in response to freshly discovered problems and newly created vulnerabilities, their release doesn’t follow any predictable schedule. As a further complication, the management and installation of patches is the responsibility of the end-user.

Patch management software helps IT teams monitor and manage the deployment of software patches. In this Buyer’s Guide, we discuss:

What Is Patch Management Software?

Common Features of Patch Management Software

Benefits of Patch Management Software

Patch Management Software Best Practices

What Is Patch Management Software?

IT departments—even in SMBs that may only have an IT department of one or two people—have been patching software for as long as they’ve been around. Patching software is, in fact, one of the central operations required to keep a company’s IT both up and running as well as safe and secure.

To that last point, it’s been estimated that “99% of exploits are based on vulnerabilities that have already been known to security and IT professionals for at least one year.” (It's Time to Align Your Vulnerability Management Priorities With the Biggest Threats, Gartner, available to clients.) Only when the vulnerabilities are successfully patched can the risk of falling victim to an exploit be minimized.

Patch management software is designed to simplify and automate various aspects of the patch deployment and monitoring process. It addresses patch management for a variety of IT components, including individual endpoints, servers and network applications.

Because IT varies widely between verticals and company size-tiers, patch management software comes in many shapes and sizes. It’s not uncommon for an enterprise to have several IT teams and find each using different patch management software.

While SMBs have simpler, more focused patch management software needs, they must still search within a highly fragmented and complex patch management software market to find the solution that best meets their needs.

Common Features of Patch Management Software

This section highlights the central applications of patch management software and provides a good place to begin your search.

Patch inventory

Patch management software helps keep track of a company’s IT inventory, including its endpoints (PCs, tablets, POSs etc.), databases, servers and applications. Inventory tools also help track which versions of software are installed on the devices and their patch history.

Patch catalog

A repository to store and manage patches active in your company’s IT ecosystem. Catalog tools can automatically download patches from software vendors, ensuring solutions are up to date. They can also help confirm that new patches are necessary and aren’t, for example, superseded by an earlier patch or update.

Patch prioritization

Prioritization tools help IT admins determine which patches should receive the most immediate attention, based on the organization’s IT profile. Some prioritization tools incorporate Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure (CVE) ratings to better identify vulnerabilities that need the most immediate attention.

Patch installation

Installation tools assist with the deployment and installation of software patches, helping to automate what can be a very time consuming manual process. Apart from saving time, they also increase the quality of patch management processes by minimizing downtime and reducing human error.

Patch integration

Patch management tools can often be integrated with other IT service management tools, like help desks and tools for IT asset management. These integrations can improve workflow efficiencies and provide more transparency into the current state of all of a company’s IT assets.

Reporting

These tools report on the current (and historical) state of an IT environment, letting admins see at a glance which patches have and haven’t been implemented. They can also help maintain patch compliance in circumstances where patch installation is left up to end users or individual (non-IT) departments.

Benefits of Patch Management Software

While we touched on some of the benefits of patch management software in the sections above, here we’ll lay them out in a more organized fashion.

Improved IT security: Improved IT security across endpoints, databases and internal networks is the most significant benefit of a successful patch management software deployment. Note that patch management software doesn’t make IT security software unnecessary, but it can improve its effectiveness.

Better system stability: Patches do more than just fix security vulnerabilities, they can also restore functionality, prevent errors and ensure that production IT equipments always runs at full capacity. Better systems stability is a benefit that all IT users can appreciate.

Time savings: Deploying patches manually can be extremely time consuming. Patch management software greatly reduces this burden. It also saves time for IT end-users by reducing the need for lengthy update processes, re-installations and reduces the need for damage control following a malware infection.

Keep in mind, however, that these benefits are contingent upon proper selection and implementation of patch management software. Some tips for this are in the following section.

Patch Management Software Best Practices

As with all software, the success of a patch management software implementation depends upon accurate alignment with company-wide goals. Additionally, consider the following best practices when planning your company’s implementation:

  • Avoid using heavily automated patching until you have well-defined standards and process. Haphazard use of automated patching can lead to system instability.

  • IT configurations should be tracked or monitored to prevent configuration drift, a problem in which the configuration of production IT grows apart from the configuration of backup and secondary systems.

  • Patch management may require occasional cooperation from staff outside the IT department to, for example, test recently patched applications or avoid using certain applications during scheduled patch maintenance windows.

  • Cloud-deployed software is typically patched by the software vendor, not end-users, so can be a good alternative if patch management becomes too much of a burden.

Patch management can be a significant burden on IT departments, but given the myriad risks associated with using unpatched software, it’s a necessary burden. Careful patch management software selection and implementation can greatly reduce that burden without introducing extra complications.