What Is Business Network Patch Management?

Business Network Patch Management is a systematic approach for software applications and operating systems within a business network that involves planning, testing, and executing updates or patches.

The main objective of network patch management is to bolster security, minimize vulnerabilities, and guarantee the seamless operation of the network by ensuring all software components remain current. 

This process includes the identification, evaluation, and application of patches to tackle potential security weaknesses, bugs, or performance issues across diverse software elements within the network infrastructure.

Why Is Patch Management Important?

Effective Patch Management is critical for many reasons. We’ve compiled a list of the most essential benefits for using patch management – you can see them in a table below.

Enhanced SecurityConsistently applying patches is vital to addressing vulnerabilities in software and operating systems. By proactively patching, organizations strengthen their defense against potential cyber threats that exploit these weaknesses.
Swift Vulnerability MitigationIdentifying and resolving vulnerabilities promptly minimizes the window of opportunity for cybercriminals. Through Patch Management, known vulnerabilities are swiftly addressed, reducing the risks of unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security incidents.
Optimized PerformancePatches not only rectify security issues but also tackle bugs and glitches affecting system performance. Keeping software up to date ensures optimal functionality, preventing disruptions and downtime arising from unresolved issues.
Regulatory Compliance AssuranceMany industries mandate stringent data security and privacy regulations. Effective Patch Management aids organizations in staying compliant by continuously updating security measures to meet evolving standards.
Preservation of Data IntegrityPatching plays a crucial role in maintaining data integrity by preventing unauthorized access and potential data corruption. It safeguards sensitive information, ensuring the trustworthiness of stored data.

If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, we definitely recommend implementing patch management into your workflow.

Types of Patch Management

There are several types of patch management approaches, each with its characteristics and purposes serving different scenarios and organizations.

We’ll now do a quick run-down of the 8 most common types of patch management.

  1. Manual Patch Management: Involves manual identification, download, and installation of patches by IT administrators.

Pros: Provides control over the patching process, allows for targeted testing, and is suitable for smaller environments.

Cons: Time-consuming, prone to human error, and may lead to delays in patching critical vulnerabilities.

  1. Automated Patch Management: Utilizes automated tools to identify, download, and deploy patches across a network.

Pros: Saves time and reduces human error, allows for centralized control, and ensures quicker patching.

Cons: Requires initial setup and configuration, and may lack the precision of manual methods.

  1. Offline Patch Management: Involves downloading patches on a separate network or system, then transferring them to the target systems.

Pros: Enhances security by minimizing direct internet exposure, useful for isolated environments.

Cons: Requires additional steps for patch distribution, and updates may not be as immediate.

  1. Cloud-Based Patch Management: Relies on cloud services to automate the distribution and deployment of patches.

Pros: Offers scalability, flexibility, and often includes features for real-time monitoring and reporting.

Cons: Requires a reliable internet connection, and organizations need to trust the security of the cloud provider.

  1. Third-Party Patch Management: Addresses vulnerabilities in third-party applications not covered by the operating system’s native update mechanism.

Pros: Ensures a more comprehensive approach to patching, covering a wide range of software.

Cons: May involve additional licensing costs and requires compatibility with various software vendors.

  1. Security Patch Management: Focuses specifically on deploying patches related to security vulnerabilities.

Pros: Prioritizes critical updates that address potential security risks.

Cons: May overlook non-security-related patches that contribute to overall system stability.

  1. Tested Patch Management: Patches undergo thorough testing in a controlled environment before deployment.

Pros: Reduces the risk of unintended consequences from patching, ensuring system stability.

Cons: Can lead to delays in deploying patches, and testing may not catch all potential issues.

  1. Emergency Patch Management: Involves the immediate deployment of patches to address critical vulnerabilities or ongoing cyber threats.

Pros: Rapid response to urgent security issues.

Cons: Carries a higher risk of unforeseen issues, as patches may not undergo extensive testing.

Organizations often combine different patch management types based on their specific needs, the criticality of systems, and the urgency of patch deployment.

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Patch Management Best Practices

Effective patch management is crucial for maintaining a secure and reliable IT environment. 

These ten best practices offer a comprehensive approach to streamline the patching process, prioritize critical systems, and enhance overall cybersecurity posture.

1. Establish a Patch Management Policy

Develop a clear and comprehensive patch management policy that defines the entire patching process, including:

  • Roles
  • Responsibilities
  • The criteria for prioritizing patches
  • Prioritize Critical Systems

Identify and prioritize critical systems and applications based on their importance to the business. Ensure that patches for these systems are applied promptly to minimize the risk of exploitation.

2. Regularly Conduct Risk Assessments

Conduct regular risk assessments to identify vulnerabilities in the organization’s systems. Assess the potential impact of these vulnerabilities to prioritize patching efforts effectively.

3. Automate Patch Deployment

Utilize patch management tools that offer automation capabilities. Automated systems can streamline patch management, especially in these areas:

  • identification
  • Testing
  • Deployment

This reduces the manual workload and minimizes human errors.

4. Schedule Regular Patching Cycles

Establish a regular schedule for patching cycles. 

Consistency is key to ensuring that systems remain up to date without causing disruptions to critical business operations.

5. Test Patches in a Controlled Environment

Before deploying patches to production systems, conduct thorough testing in a controlled environment that mirrors the organization’s infrastructure. 

Testing helps identify potential conflicts or issues that may arise post-deployment.

6. Monitor Vendor Releases and Security Bulletins

Stay informed about software vendors’ release schedules and security bulletins. Monitoring these sources allows organizations to be proactive in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities promptly.

7. Segment the Network

Implement network segmentation to isolate critical systems from the broader network. This limits the potential impact of a security breach, enhancing the overall security posture.

8. Maintain Offline Backups

Keep offline backups of critical systems to ensure data recovery in case of unforeseen issues caused by patches. This precautionary measure safeguards against data loss during the patching process.

9. Implement User Awareness Programs

Educate users about the importance of timely updates and patches. User awareness programs help create a security-conscious culture, reducing the likelihood of delayed or ignored patch installations.

Supercharge Cybersecurity with Perimeter 81

Business Network Patch Management is critical for:

  • Enhancing cybersecurity
  • Addressing vulnerabilities
  • Ensuring the optimal functioning of business networks. 

Its systematic approach, encompassing planning, testing, and implementing patches, plays a principal role in fortifying the integrity and performance of systems. 

Recognizing the importance of effective patch management, organizations can choose from various approaches, such as manual, automated, offline, cloud-based, and more, tailored to their specific needs. 

For organizations looking for comprehensive network security solutions, Perimeter 81 offers unparalleled expertise in how to enhance your cybersecurity defenses. 

Check Perimeter81 right now, book a FREE call, and maximize your security now.


What is poor patch management?
Uneven patch application is a commonly neglected aspect that can disrupt the patching process. When patches are applied inconsistently, it creates confusion for those tasked with patching assets, as they struggle to discern which assets require patches and which ones do not.
Does Microsoft have a patch management tool?
Azure Update Manager is a service designed to enable the management of updates for all your machines, whether they operate on Windows or Linux, spanning Azure, on-premises environments, and other cloud platforms. 
What is patch management NIST?
Patch management refers to the systematic procedure of recognizing, obtaining, deploying, and validating patches for products and systems. These patches play a crucial role in addressing security vulnerabilities and enhancing the functionality of software and firmware.
How often should you perform patch management?
A suggested patching schedule might follow this pattern: Monthly updates for desktop operating systems, malware and antivirus software, security tools, VPN clients, and client applications. Additionally, monthly updates for server operating systems and applications.

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