For many, the patching process, both manual and automated, breeds pre and post-patching anxiety, tension, and sometimes depression.
Ever heard of an IT team that does manual server patching ever get a full night’s sleep? We, neither. They don’t exist.
Manual Server Patches: Why They Are Dreaded
In IT, you have heard the term software and server patching, probably one time too many. We’ll explain it anyway.
Due to the ever-evolving nature of technology, your servers have to undergo frequent updates called patches. Patching usually aim at updating, fixing, or improving your server. They fix everything from bugs, security vulnerabilities to issues with the code.
The server companies then release these updates to the clients, who then have to install them to ensure their systems are up to date.
A client company can either Install these updates manually, automatically or not install them at all (slightly worse than manual patching.)
Well, there are three words that best define manual server patching; labor-intensive, error-prone, and resource-heavy. Only three because we leave out the swearing.
- Labour Intensive
Server patching is probably the most task-laden activity an IT team has to deal with. It requires obtaining patch alerts from vendors, assessing the patches that affect your systems, and determining when to apply patches: that, and much more, including testing patches and performing post patching verification.
Manual server patching can come with its advantages, but its downsides are also significant. Speak of everything from risking downtimes and outages to performance issues and installation failures.
- Resource Heavy
The server patching process takes an insurmountable amount of human resources, monetary resources, and time—all these without any guarantee of success.
Enter Server Patch Automation And Rest APIs
To grasp server patch automation, we have to take a brief detour and discuss Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Every IT business operates on a client-server relationship where the client is the IT Company (the front end), and the server is the resource or the (backend).
API’s are a set of rules that facilitate communication between the client and the server. A REST API, on the other hand, is a type of API that transfers data between a client and a server. It is stateless and cached among its many other advantages like its flexibility and compatibility with multiple data formats.
There is no limit to the applications of Rest API in an IT business. One of its most consequential applications, however, is its use in automating Server Patches.
REST APIs are the building blocks of software that companies leverage to automate this rather tedious process.
Benefits: Secure Your Systems And Increase Productivity With Server Patch Automation
To automate or not to automate? This is the dilemma that many IT companies find themselves in whenever a server patch rolls in.
For one, systems can run just fine without patching or automation. Moreover, even free server software like Windows Server Update Systems (WUWS) come with some form of inbuilt automation.
The question is, Are they sufficient? and What are the risks of ignoring Server Patches? Well, they may be for some small businesses, but for a business that runs on several servers, automation seems like the best route to take.
- Auditing, Analytics, And Reporting Features
Unlike manual server patching, embracing patch automation comes with the benefit of analytics. Server patching automation software offers a wealth of information, including patch deployment status, machine compliance, machine software, and assets.
2. Save Costs
The Return on Investment on server patching automation is one of its greatest selling points. As we’ve seen, manual server patching requires a lot of human resources, inflating your wage bill. Not only does an IT company have to pay for hours on a task they could otherwise automate, but also foot the loss from not engaging in other productive activities.
3. Standardize Your Server Patches
Automating server patches goes a long way in making your patching standard. With different servers, operating systems, and third-party software, the lack of systemic organization can be your downfall.
Patch automation puts your house in order. It creates a systemic approach to patching your different systems in such a way that puts you one step ahead of all the patches. The best part of it all is that you don’t have to break a sweat-it’s all automated.
4. Multiple Servers? No Problem
A client company can get away with manual server patching for one or two servers. For multiple servers, different third-party applications, and different operating systems, it’s a whole different story.
Automation allows simultaneous patches to be applied across different end-points in a controlled manner. This reduces the workforce, chances of error, and the overall cost of manually updating different server systems.
5. Security! Security and More Security!
Unpatched and inefficiently patched systems are a magnet for bugs and viruses. Improving security is one of the reasons server patches exist in the first place; to fix loopholes that develop as software evolves. And it shows in the statistics.
According to a Ponemon survey, 60% of security breaches are from known vulnerabilities that were not patched. Automation ensures that a company is secure from vulnerabilities that are fixed by the patch and reduces exposure to vulnerabilities that may exist after the patch.
6. More Productivity? Yes Please
Patch automation goes a long way in improving the productivity of your team. It takes care of redundant and repetitive tasks that hold up your workforce from performing more productive duties. And it doesn’t stop there. Automation can take over the entire process, including verification, identifying log issues, automatically performing health checks, and troubleshooting.
7. Compliance Made Easier
With compliance and regulations on privacy and data piling up at unprecedented rates (Think GDPR, HIPAA, and the NIST), the walls are closing in on firms that don’t value user privacy. Server security plays a crucial role in ensuring data privacy, improving security, and complying with these rules in the process. Well, how?
First is by automating server patching to reduce errors and vulnerabilities, and second is by leveraging patching automation to get the security improvements that patches bring.
8. Keep Up With New Features
With automated Server Patching, your systems are guaranteed never to miss any update or improvement. These patches ensure your business benefits from the new improvements and features that make your operations more efficient.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is neglecting frequent patching and opting for a false sense of stability. This approach may lead to peace of mind in the short-term, but the vulnerabilities in the long term make it not worth trying.
Increase Productivity And Security With WhatsUp Gold Network
More productive teams, unmatched data privacy and security, there’s more where that came from. WhatsUp Gold Network Is your-one-stop-shop for all things server monitoring. Our broad range of services offers immediate visibility into your server infrastructure, automated inventory reporting, and Faster Performance and troubleshooting.
If you feel that our services click with any aspect of your business needs, feel free to contact us today, and we will be more than willing to help.