Patch Management –

Application Update Management for Devices

Here you can find information on the patch management process and on how you can automatize the security patches. We’ll discuss the benefits of automatic update management, and compare different patch management applications. Automatized patch management processes improve information security and improve the effectiveness of IT work.

We at Centero have developed Centero Software Manager (CSM), an application for comprehensive update management and workstation and software standardization. CSM works in different environments, and its versatile features make life easier for the IT support and the end-user alike. You can read more about patch management below, and you can always contact us for more information about automatized update management.

What does Patch Management mean?

Patch management is a software update management process where the updates are fetched, processed, and deployed onto the devices in the device environment. You can manage your security patches manually as well, but nowadays there are several Patch Management tools that automatize each phase of the manual work.

Read current articles on Patch Management »

Patch management is a software update management process.
Patch Management fixes application versions’ issues

Patch Management fixes application versions’ issues

Why do we need patch management processes? Because different software versions have issues that need to be fixed. Patch management also helps in analyzing the applications within a system and detecting the lack of security features and other functions that might call for an update.

The software’s patch files help fixing the issues that are detected after the software has already been released. Usually patches are security updates, but the patch management process also handles patches that improve the applications’ functionality.

The patch management process

The patch management process consists of attaining, testing, and installing patches to a computer’s applications and software tools. The security patch management process keeps the existing patches up to date on all the workstations.

Typically, the process has six steps:

1. Detecting the vulnerability

1. Detecting the vulnerability

2. Comparing your own inventory with the vulnerability / Need for an update package

2. Comparing your own inventory with the vulnerability / Need for an update package

3. Downloading the patch

3. Downloading the patch

4. Testing the patch

4. Testing the patch

5. Deploying the patch

5. Deploying the patch

6. Confirming the patch was installed successfully.

6. Confirming the patch was installed successfully.

Application update management can be done manually as well, but with certain tools you can automatize the patch and update management.

Automatic security patches

The main function of most patch management software is automatizing the security patches. 3rd party applications waiting for an update leave security gaps into an organization’s devices, and cyber criminals can use these gaps for attacks and malware deployment. Check our blog for more reasons to automatize your security patches.

 Automatic security patches

3rd party applications need frequent patches

Every computer user knows this situation: you are happily working, and all of a sudden update notifications and restart orders appear on your screen and interrupt your work. According to a survey Centero conducted, security patches confuse and annoy the users.

You need to keep the often-updated 3rd party applications up to date, or your information security might be compromised. You can handle the applications’ security patches automatically, without interrupting the workstation’s user and thus saving time, with most update management tools such as Centero Software Manager.

Comparing patch management tools

There’s a whole world of different patch management software for updating 3rd party applications out there. One software is for certain use, another software for other kind of use. Finding the one that suits your organization might feel tricky, but it is a good idea to use the time to compare different patch management tools before making a purchase.

You can take a look at different software’s features with our guide “Comparing Patch Management Solutions”. The guide gives you a good idea on what are the differences between the software, and how they work. Download the guide here and read more about Patch Management software and their features »

Comparing patch management tools

Get to know the features of different patch management tools

There are plenty of patch management tools out there, and they differ quite a lot when it comes to their features, performance, functions, and even price. Centero conducted a comparison and an analysis on the update management tools on the market. You can read the comparison’s background from our blog.

We compared 12 different Patch Management tools:

  • F-Secure PSB: Software Updater
  • Itarian
  • Automox patch management
  • Cloud Management Suite
  • Solarwinds Patch Manager
  • Centero Software Manager
  • Ivanti Patch for SCCM
  • ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
  • GFI Languard
  • IMB BigFix

Many of the tools compared, like Centero Software Manager, are solutions developed for automatic update management, and they can solve many of the workstation environment and IT work issues that organizations face. The central challenges are usually somehow security-related.

Proper update management takes care of security issues

With patch management tools, you can keep at bay any security issues arising from applications and operating systems waiting for an update, both in workstation and mobile environments.

Neglecting updates for 3rd party applications (Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java etc.) is a major security threat for organizations. Automatizing software security updates with CSM makes sure that all 3rd party applications in use are up to date, which means outdated applications won’t be causing any hidden vulnerabilities in your organization’s IT environment.

Efficiency to information work with update automatization

Automatizing your updates makes IT work more efficient, as you don’t need to waste time on routine update tasks, and the employee doesn’t have to constantly click on update notifications and restart the device in the middle of a good workflow. Update procedures, even though they might seem like a small task, can eventually turn out to be a huge waste of resources, as they just keep on repeating.

Read how the City of Oulu’s IT service provider made their work more efficient and freed up resources to customer service thanks to Centero Software Manager.

Automatic update management saves time

The more workstations an organization uses, the more it can save time when automatizing the updates. Travel service provider Finavia has approximately 1,600 workstations, each with several applications installed. The software has to be updated regularly in order to ensure security, and performing the updates manually can easily be time-consuming. Each month, several more hours of working time can now be used on productive work, and nobody needs to monitor update availability or vulnerabilities as their day job.

Centero Software Manager is also used for centralized software updates in many municipalities. Pohjoisen Keski-Suomen Verkkopalvelut Oy has automatized its update routines in municipalities’ device environment, and doing so not only made the IT staff’s work more efficient, but also improved the environment’s information security.

Do you know how much time you use on update work?
Automatic update management saves time

Do you know how much time you use on update work?

Updating a 3rd party application might feel like a small detail and almost no work at all, but as the update dance needs to be danced every day or every week, it can turn out to be a massive expenditure.

For an organization, automatizing the Patch Management work means, without exceptions, time and money resources saved. But how much could you save with automatization? Get a free quick estimate, and you’ll get an approximate idea on the amount of update work.

Standardized workstations and software

Centero Software Manager also makes it easier to implement new workstations. For Centero’s customer, Kaukokiito Oy, one of the central uses for CSM is application standardization.

Also Kaisanet Oy, a company specializing in network services, data communications, and IT services, has many customers that are specifically interested in standardized workstations and software. The company started using CSM for SCCM, which allows workstation standardization as a convenient cloud service. Read more about Kaisanet Oy’s experts’ experiences on Centero Software Manager »

The more workstations an organization uses, the more it can save time when automatizing the updates.
In many companies, it’s been time to say goodbye to manual patch management processes and welcome to CSM. At SPS Energia Oy, for instance, a system specialist calculated that putting together one patch package takes an hour, and testing it another – which eventually mounts up to a vast amount of time, with several updates to every application each year. Automatizing the application updates means that the company has been able to use these working hours for productive work.

Read what other benefits Centero Software Manager has brought to SPS.

Keski-Uudenmaan Informaatioteknologia Oy has also made their work more efficient, with CSM taking care of the routine patch packaging and deployment. Read more »

Napa Oy provides software services for the marine industry, and the company’s head of work stations mentions another CSM benefit: the tested application updates that free up resources and make the company’s every day work more secure.

CMS – Patch management solution for different environments

Centero CSM is a suitable patch management tool for many different device environments. There are dedicated service versions for different deployment services and work environments:

CSM Cloud

With CSM Cloud, you don’t need your own server for application update distribution, as the application management can be done as a cloud service. This is most likely your best choice when you are not using a SCCM or WSUS service.

CSM for SCCM

CSM for SCCM downloads new versions of the applications and creates SCCM deployments according to the deployment process defined in the CSM-configuration. CSM of SCCM is compatible with Microsoft’s System Center Configuration Manager, and doesn’t require a separate workstation installation.

CSM for WSUS

CSM for WSUS is compatible with WSUS (short for Microsoft Windows Server Update Services), and also works without a separate workstation installation. CSM for WSUS automatically downloads the new versions of the chosen applications and configures WSUS to install application updates on workstations according to the desired schedule.

CSM for Intune

CSM is fully compatible with the cloud-based Microsoft Intune management solution. Centero Software Manager for Intune makes the distribution of updates automatic with Microsoft Intune interfaces. CSM downloads new versions of selected applications and creates SCCM distributions according to the distribution process defined in the Centero Software Manager configuration.

CSM for Intune does not require a separate installation to workstations!

CSM for Servers

In addition to managing workstation updates, you can also manage the updates for server operating systems. For this we’ve developed the CSM for Servers tool. CSM for Servers is a Patch Management tool designed for server environments, and it automatizes the application deployment processes for server operating systems. CSM for Servers is your solution, if you are looking to keep the organization’s server operating system’s security patches up to date. Check out our blog for the risks and issues you can tackle with the CSM for Servers solution.

Standardized workstations and software
CSM features – Task Sequence

CSM features – Task Sequence

CSM’s new feature that automatizes processing the application installation steps in task sequence, takes a significant workload off the admins.

The ten applications with most frequent updates average a new version release as often as once every 24 hours. If it takes 15 minutes to take care of each task, for ten applications the tasks take more than hour a week, meaning more than 60 hours each year.

Application inventory with CSM’s Inventory feature

It’s usually the organizations’ IT department that is in charge of using Centero Software Manager. Centero Software Manager’s Management Portal gives the company’s IT admins a good look at the entire organization’s workstation environment. The workstation situation reports give detailed information on the device base. In addition to the CSM management features, the CSM’s Management Portal has an Inventory feature that gives the users ample information on the organization’s workstation environment. If you do not have a separate inventory system at hand, the CSM Inventory tool is the best solution for managing workstation-related information. In addition to producing reports for environment maintenance and decision-making, the tool comes in handy in licensing audits as well. With the Inventory functionality you can quickly find out what Microsoft products your organization uses, and the licenses they are used with.
 Application inventory with CSM’s Inventory feature
The Inventory tool and its various user views give you the essentials on the workstation environment. The Inventory user views for a logged-in admin:

  • Windows Defender
  • Computers
  • CPUs
  • EventLogs
  • LocalGroups
  • LogicalDisks
  • Network Adapters
  • PackageSourceLists
  • Services,
  • Software,
  • Windows Update Settings,
  • Windows Updates.

Read our blog for more on CSM Management Portal’s Inventory reporting view and its features.

Many Centero Software Manager users, Pirkanmaan Liitto among them, use the Inventory tool’s reports on the device environments status and the updated applications.

According to Pirkanmaan Liitto’s IT expert, the easy-to-use statistics are also handy when the user wants to keep track of the user rights in real time. Click here for Pirkanmaan Liitto’s experiences on CSM »

CSM product development – Closer look at MSIX installation package format

Closer look at MSIX installation package format
MSIX is a new installation package format Microsoft has recently released, designed for deploying and running applications.

The idea is that with MSIX you can standardize the installation package format, meaning for example setup.exe, MIS, Microsoft Application Virtualization also known as App-V, and ClickOnce components and distribution technologies.

Centero Software Manager’s product development also takes the MSIX format into account. According to the specialists at Centero, the new MSIX format standardizes application packaging at all stages, starting with application developers and ranging all the way to IT-admins. Creating packages and editing settings is possible every step of the way during installation package processing.

More information on Centero Software Manager

How can you prevent any compatibility issues the applications can cause? And how do you modify application packages? Do you want to know what questions others have asked about CSM? Read the answers to Centero Software Manager’s frequently asked questions.

Benefit from the CSM Knowledge Base

Are you a CSM user? Centero Software Manager Knowledge Base gives up-to-date information for the IT support and other professionals who are in charge of CSM use in their organizations. The Knowledge Base has additional information on different CSM versions’ implementation and administration.

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