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Why Should You Test Patches Before Deployment?

Level 14

Testing patches before deployment is perhaps the most critical step in the patch management process.  Although patch management has become a reliable solution for end-point vulnerability protection, organizations often fail to realize the impact of incorrectly patched applications and failed updates. As much as we want applications updated, we need to be careful about how we introduce a new patch update into the application environment.

Think of the below possibilities that need be analyzed before deploying the patch update.

  • Will the patch be successfully deployed in the target environment?
  • Will the patch be compatible with the OS platform?
  • Will the patch cause any unprecedented issues on the target platform post-deployment?
  • How will you get to know if the patch deployment has failed?

Failing to analyze these questions could invite more complaints and issues from end-users and cause administrative headaches to IT admins.

  

Best Practices for Pre-Deployment Patch Testing

The goal of testing patches before deployment is to ensure the system's applications and operations are not impacted, and business services are not interrupted. Proper testing of security updates is an industry-standard best practice that allows you to understand the possible impact of the patch update on your target environment.

Pre-deployment patch testing should consist of the following:

  • Simulate test cases and check if the patches are getting deployed successfully on the target platform(s)
  • Compare application performance before and after patch deployment and check if there are any issues
  • Test if other applications running on the target environment are impacted by the patch update
  • Ensure that if the patch is successfully removed, no application or system issues will occur
  • Incorporate patch testing as part of your IT security risk assessment plan

Additionally, as a post-deployment check, implement a mechanism to notify you of failed patch deployment.

  

Leverage Pre-Built, Pre-Tested Patches for Hassle-Free Deployment

SolarWinds Patch Manager allows you to leverage pre-tested, pre-built, ready-to-deploy patches for common third-party applications. SolarWinds does all of the research, scripting, packaging, and even much of the testing and makes patches available on the Patch Manager console ready for deployment. These patches can be automatically synchronized with the WSUS server right along with your Microsoft® patches.

Click here to see the list of all third-party applications and latest patch updates that SolarWinds Patch Manager can help you deploy right out of the box.

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SolarWinds Patch Manager automates and simplifies your organizational patch management process and allows you to:

  • Create advanced before-and-after package deployment scenarios to ensure that complicated patches deploy successfully without requiring any complicated scripting
  • Get automatic notification of failed patch updates
  • Implement bulk patch deployment to your choice of target computers
  • Reboot sleeping or turned off workstations and servers using built-in Wake-On-LAN and deploy patches

Try out the fully-functional evaluation of Patch Manager!

About the Author
Vinod Mohan is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at DataCore Software. He has over a decade of experience in product, technology and solution marketing of IT software and services spanning application performance management, network, systems, virtualization, storage, IT security and IT service management (ITSM). In his current capacity at DataCore, Vinod focuses on communicating the value proposition of software-defined storage to IT teams helping them benefit from infrastructure cost savings, storage efficiency, performance acceleration, and ultimate flexibility for storing and managing data. Prior to DataCore, Vinod held product marketing positions at eG Innovations and SolarWinds, focusing on IT performance monitoring solutions. An avid technology enthusiast, he is a contributing author to many popular sites including APMdigest, VMblog, Cyber Defense Magazine, Citrix Blog, The Hacker News, NetworkDataPedia, IT Briefcase, IT Pro Portal, and more.