Server Patch Management Best Practices

Patching servers quickly and accurately is critical for security. Servers provide the backbone of any network infrastructure, and as such they have more dependencies than we experience with laptops. Server patches should be piloted prior to a deployment, maintenance windows must be set, and installation requirements for each patch must be understood.

In order to manage the patch needs of multiple servers and operating systems, companies should adhere to recommended best practices -

  1. Establish a set patch management schedule
    Each server OS releases patches on a separate schedule. Microsoft is famous for releasing updates on the second Tuesday of each month, but Linux and applications that run on top of your server will release updates at different times. We recommend checking for new server patches at least once a week, and subscribing to alerts for critical patches that are released in-between your scheduled patching times.

  2. Prioritize server patches by severity
    Some patches need to be applied immediately to prevent malicious actors from gaining access to your network, and other patches are less likely to be exploited or may only affect certain system configurations. A patch management system like Automox can ensure you have visibility into the patch status of all your servers and prioritize accordingly.

  3. Use one central server patching software
    Keeping track of all updates for multiple operating systems and associated third-party applications is a daunting task and critical patches can be missed if companies use different tools for each system. By centralizing patch management into a single solution that works across multiple OS’ and handles both on-premise and cloud servers, companies can be assured that no new patches are missed.

  4. Automated patch management saves time
    By employing an automated patch management solution, you reduce the time it takes to apply patches and remote the risk that critical patches will be overlooked. Keeping servers secure by applying patches quickly and effectively is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your attack surface.

If you’re interested in reading more, we have a full article available here. But, I’d love to hear some of your best practices when it comes to managing server patches!