Alleviate Direct and Indirect Patching Costs Through Automation

Written by Rory McCaw on Wednesday, November 7th 2018 — Categories: Patching, SCOM, SCCM, Datacenter Automation, Microsoft

In a world where we have self-driving cars, cures for complex diseases, and where we’re building houses with 3D printers, some enterprise organizations still manually patch servers which run their mission-critical applications.

Enterprise data center management can fray the nerves of even the most experienced administrators. “To err is human”, as the saying goes, and errors can happen during patching, even with the powerful toolset in Microsoft System Center. A server admin could spend hours struggling with a single patch and cause productivity delays the next day for the systems which don’t get addressed.

There are effective ways of automating these tasks, which come with price tags both directly and indirectly related to patching itself.
 

Automating Server Patching is Good – Smart Patching Automation is Better

If your automated patching process gets hung up on a single server or cluster, whether it’s an Exchange DAG server or Windows Server, you could miss multiple vital “Patch Tuesday” security updates for the month or week. An automated patching strategy can recognize and flag problem patches for human attention, while moving on to other patching responsibilities.

 IT management is alerted to any remaining vulnerabilities so they can be addressed with minimal disruption to daily tasks. If one patch fails, it should be flagged. But whether it’s midnight or 3am, there are other patches to complete. The automation platform ensures those are completed so your business doesn't suffer an outage the next day.

Human IT staff members are better suited to addressing any patches which might require a call to a support resource, or those that generally doesn’t fit routine patching parameters.
 

If a Server Patch isn’t Documented in a Report, did it Really Happen?

Government organizations and companies in regulated industries — such as hydroelectric utilities, financial services, or healthcare organizations — need comprehensive, auditable reporting.  These reports demonstrate the business remains vigilant in the implementation and maintenance of required security controls and updates.

If you are going to automate your application server patching processes, you need sophisticated dashboards and reports to track what servers are fully patched and what applications require additional attention. Timely access to information confirming patching and remediation of zero-day vulnerabilities is essential within these highly regulated and data security-sensitive realms.
 

Savings and Opportunities of Patch Automation vs Status Quo

Businesses that adopt cloud-based systems for server patching and automation will incur recurring operational costs to subscribe to these tools. Yet compared to the direct and indirect costs of staying the course with manual updates, these costs are minimal.

Direct costs and risks of manual patching include:

Indirect costs and threats due to manual updates include:

Automated server patching with Beekeeper does more than just help your team sleep at night. It will keep your mission-critical systems with speed, stability, and security which will satisfy your executives, your employees, and any auditors that drop by.

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