N-central product screenshot

Automatically deploy patches across complex, diverse environments

Supporting customers with complex networks can be challenging for MSPs due to the sheer number of endpoints and potential vulnerabilities. Even with a high level of visibility, manual patch management is a time-consuming process. The robust automation capabilities within N-able N-central® make it an efficient patch management tool.

The N-able N-central solution allows you to view customer networks and manage patches from a single dashboard. The patch management module finds Microsoft and third-party software patches and automatically installs them as they become available.

MSPs can also configure rules to automatically approve or deny certain patches. This helps speed up patch management, allowing you to focus on more complex operations.

Patches summary

Check patch status across customer sites

MSPs should document everything they do, but this best practice can be challenging when technicians are patching various endpoints and servers—across multiple customer sites—over the course of a single day.

The robust reporting within N-able N-central allows MSPs to check patch status health across different customers. Report manager automatically generates reports for repetitive tasks, including patching, and allows you to customize the reports as needed. These reports can help ensure nothing slips through the cracks and can also be beneficial in the event of audits or a security breach.

N-central patch status management

Help keep customer networks secure with patch management tools

Effective patch management is all about accounting for software vulnerabilities and helping keep your customers’ networks secure. Patch management in N-able N-central helps MSPs stay on top of updates.

Patch management releases updates separately from the larger N-able N-central platform to help ensure MSPs can react quickly to Microsoft updates. This lightweight, independent patch engine also means technicians don’t have to waste time upgrading the entire environment—targeted patches can be released when necessary.

N-able N-central also includes built-in patching for offline networks without requiring MSPs to open firewall ports to Windows Update. Similarly, patch management tool enables an organized workflow for Windows 10 cumulative and security-only updates, including advanced logic for superseded updates. By optimizing these various patch management processes, N-central leaves less room for error and vulnerabilities that bad actors may try to exploit.

RMM patch management

Gain access to the latest updates without the need for third-party tools

Patch management is a continuous process. As software evolves, new patches must be quickly deployed to address vulnerabilities as they are identified. When multiplied across numerous customers, dozens of software and applications, and thousands of endpoints and servers, staying on top of the latest updates can quickly become overwhelming for MSPs. Luckily, patch management tools can help keep you up to date.

N-able N-central is self-healing, which means it automatically monitors for Windows Update and helps ensure your devices are working and ready for updates. By proactively facilitating healing, MSPs can save time on manual checks and skip straight to deploying the latest patches.

Not only will N-able N-central help keep customer devices updated, the tool makes testing new patches painless. By allowing technicians to deploy the latest patches to test groups first, and evaluate whether the update should be pushed to production devices, this tool helps ensure optimal performance for devices.

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Frequently asked questions

What is patch management?

What is patch management?

Patch management is a subsection of systems management that involves testing, installing, monitoring, and managing patches and updates on a computer system.

No piece of software is perfect, so developers often release software patches, or code changes, to existing programs to fix any bugs, defects, or vulnerabilities. Patching one piece of software is relatively simple, but it becomes more challenging in complex networks where many devices might need to be patched at the same time. Patch management tools help make this process easier and faster.

Typical patch management tasks include:

  • Keeping up with available patches.
  • Determining whether the available patches will be appropriate for the system in question.
  • Making sure that patches are properly installed.
  • Testing patches after installation.
  • Documenting configurations and patches required.

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How does patch management work?

How does patch management work?

In standalone systems, the patch management process is straightforward. First, the operating system or the applications on that system will periodically perform an automatic scan to see if any patches are available. If new patches are found, they will typically be automatically downloaded and installed.

In large enterprises or corporate environments, patch management is a little different. Most enterprises want to maintain software version consistency across their systems, and it would be an inefficient use of bandwidth for every computer within the network to download the same patch. As such, many IT admins opt for centralized patch management.

During this process, a centralized patch management server downloads a patch on behalf of the entire enterprise and distributes it to relevant computers.

Why is patch management software important?

Why is patch management software important?

Patch management software is important for MSPs because it helps keep their customers safe from cybersecurity risks. System bugs and defects can create software vulnerabilities that hackers exploit to gain access to sensitive information. Patching the software repairs these issues and reduces the risk of cyberattack for your customers.

Patch management is also important because it helps ensure that software is functioning properly. When software is unpatched or out-of-date, it can cause slowdowns that negatively impact end-user experience. Along the same lines, patching often adds new features to your software and allows you to keep up with the latest innovations.

What are some common challenges with patch management?

What are some common challenges with patch management?

The most common problem with patch management is a “buggy” patch. Just as no piece of software is perfect, patches can also sometimes come with errors. Occasionally, a patch will introduce new problems into a system that weren’t there before.  Additionally, sometimes disparate systems do not receive patches at the same time.

Patch management software can help with both issues. Patch management tools can test patches before deployment to make sure they don’t negatively impact the IT environment. Also, using patch management software to facilitate centralized patch management automates patching and helps ensure that everything connected to the network gets updated in a timely manner.

How frequently should I install patches in an enterprise environment?

How frequently should I install patches in an enterprise environment?

How often you install patches in an enterprise environment depends on what works best for the organization in question. Some MSPs will prefer to set aside a few days every couple of months or so to patch everything at once, while others prefer to do them in batches every few weeks. It will take some trial and error to find the patching schedule that makes sense for your customers and your business.

Regardless of how often you patch, make sure you test the patch before deploying it throughout your customer’s network. Once you’re happy with a patch, you can use patch management software to automate patch deployment to make the process easier and faster.

What are some patch management best practices?

What are some patch management best practices?

When it comes to patch management, there are some guidelines you should follow. As best as you can, try to do the following:

  1. Take a comprehensive and accurate inventory of your customers’ infrastructures to ensure no device or software is forgotten.
  2. Standardize devices and applications whenever you can. Standardized configuration, hardware, and operating systems make patch management much easier and faster.
  3. Regularly scan and monitor your systems.
  4. Deploy patches during off-peak hours so they don’t slow down networks or make certain programs unusable during business hours.
  5. Document everything that happens before, during, and after you release a patch. Patch management tools with robust reporting capabilities will help with this.
  6. Have a plan in place for what to do if a deployed patch causes problems, or if a vulnerability goes unpatched and causes a security breach.

What makes N-able N-central great patch management tool?

What makes N-able N-central great patch management tool?

N-able N-central is a powerful all-in-one remote monitoring and management platform that helps MSPs control their customers’ networks and maximize efficiency in multiple ways, including patch management.

Robust automation allows you to easily deploy patches in complex environments across multiple sites, no matter where your customers are. N-able N-central helps ensure your devices are ready to be patched with the latest updates. The tool also allows you to deploy patches for third-party applications like Adobe and Java. The program’s report manager makes handling reports easy so you provide frequent health checks on patch status for your customers.

N-able N-central gives MSPs the tools they need to help keep their customers’ networks up-to-date and secure.

Streamline, automate, and optimize patch management

  • Automate repetitive tasks like configuring, approving, and deploying patches
  • Increase cybersecurity by more efficiently tackling vulnerabilities in your customers’ networks
  • Patch with the latest and most relevant updates