Patch Management Best Practices for MSPs

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Managed service providers (MSPs) are often responsible for ensuring their clients have patches. Even if they miss just one, a client might be open to a threat or attack. Luckily, you can prevent many of these issues by using the right patch management tool for added security. There are several best practices to follow when it comes to patch management.

Make Patch Management a Regular Process

It’s a good idea to include patch management as part of your services. It’s a critical component of helping a business run smoothly, and it protects its networks from cybercriminals. Some customers might want you to offer this regularly, so bundle the cost of that into your other fees. Think of this as a value-added service. It prevents a company’s infrastructure from becoming infected by a threat. If they don’t see the importance of the service, point out what would happen if they did not have it.

If you don’t already, consider using a patch manager to reduce interruptions to your business. You should have a regular process for rolling out updates, so they happen at the right time and not during a customer’s peak hours. Find out when the users are unlikely to be online to reduce interruptions. That’s an excellent way of ensuring your customers stay happy. Make sure you do the process correctly. Every device needs to get updated, and if you miss just a couple, threats are more likely to infect your clients’ networks. The good news is that you can use IT asset discovery tools to ensure you don’t miss anything. Rolling out updates in bulk prevents you from missing any devices.

Test New Updates

Before updating your clients’ software, test out the patch to make sure it will not cause issues. Even though it is essential to update software, it’s not always best to roll out a new update immediately. There could be bugs in it, which can make it risky to implement. That’s especially true for clients whose software is critical to their business. You can still use auto-updates but just ensure first that the patch is compatible with the existing infrastructure.

During a test, you may notice that the patch will not work with a client’s existing environment. If that’s the case, let the vendor know immediately and have them make any needed changes. For instance, perhaps your customers have anti-virus software. That might not work if they also have programs designed to maximize internet security for your business. If your clients want to use each program, ask the vendor if they offer updates that allow the products to work simultaneously.

Have Clients Make Payments on Time

Many types of business software come as a subscription. That means if a client wants that program to receive updates, they need to pay the subscription fee on time. If they are not paid on time, the software might not get updated. Many payments are automatically billed, but it is a good idea to keep track of them. That way, you or the client can double-check that the fees were paid on time.

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