Cyber attackers are always on the lookout for vulnerabilities to exploit. With each pending security update that remains unapplied, there arises a potential opportunity for attackers to break through.
Manually keeping watch of every recent update and status of application patching can pose a challenge. This is why we always advise organizations and cybersecurity service providers to opt for a patch management tool.
But how do you choose the best patch management software for your business?
This guide presents the best patch management software to help you make that critical decision.
Top patch management software
In coming up with this list of the best patch management software, our experts at IT Companies Network analyzed several patch management software based on distinct features and the unique benefits each offers.
We are also keen to include the critical downside associated with each solution, based on user feedback.
As software is highly at the center of most patching processes, you might want to have a look at the best tools for software testing as well. Another set of closely related pillars is penetration testing, and we also have a guide on the best tools for penetration testing.
1. Atera patch management software
Atera is an IT management platform that offers management, SMB IT network automation, and monitoring from a single console. Besides patch management, the company also offers remote monitoring solutions, backup and inventory, among others. But our focus, of course, is on patch management.
Atera’s patch management solution is designed to offer patching automation for applications and systems. It helps MSPs maintain uptime across their client’s IT infrastructure.
- Comprehensive reporting: Atera’s patch management reporting suite provides detailed information on patching posture.
- IT automation: Atera automates the IT environment patching, reducing the risk of cyber attacks.
- Software bundle creation: You can set up a customized software bundle and then use it for repetitive tasks such as onboarding.
Why we recommend Atera patch management solution
- Automated patching: Using the Patch Search and Deploy report, you can install missing patches from within Atera’s comprehensive patching reports.
- 360-degree patching: Atera provides reports that cover Patch Search and Deploy, Patch Status Summary, and Patch Automation feedback. These reports provide full-view visibility into the client’s systems and applications, ensuring recent patches are applied properly.
- Automated software installation: You can set up and onboard new devices with one click, making the process safer, easier and faster.
Various users have reported slow load speed, occasional bugs and a lack of customization options.
2. N-Able N-Central
N-able N-central is a one-stop shop for integrated patch management, hybrid backup solutions and endpoint protection.
Thepatch management module in N-Central optimizes patch management by detecting software inventory. It allows the creation of automation policies to install new software and remove unwanted software, thus right-sizing application footprint.
- Remote working and bring your own device (BYOD): You can identify and update at-risk networks and devices with minimal impact on the end user, anytime.
- Ready Windows 11 Upgrade: You can seamlessly discover, control and deliver OS updates when ready.
- Microsoft Out of Band (OOB) Updates: OOB updates are special updates for identified security issues. You are always prepared to handle and secure your IT environment, even in unplanned situations.
In case you are not very familiar with BYOD, we have a rich resource that teaches organizations how to develop the most helpful BYOD Policy, including for mobile device management. Another closely related area is shadow IT. Please spare a few minutes to check it out.
Why we recommend N-Able N-Central patch management solution
- Patch control: You can custom-make patch policies for specific devices, groups, or specific departments and sites
- Patch flexibility: N-Central offers a variety of device reboot options, allowing admins to update only the patches they want at the most convenient time, anywhere.
- Comprehensive patching: The solution offers customized reporting, notifications and pop-ups to keep teams updated. It also helps to collect data for easy compliance reporting.
Most users find the solution to have a steep learning curve as well as challenging to manage repetitive changes and updates.
3. SolarWinds Patch Manager
SolarWinds patch manager is an agentless solution designed to perform third-party patch management across multiple workstations and servers.
It leverages the functionalities of WSUS or SCCM for reporting, deploying and overseeing third-party and Microsoft patches.
- Microsoft WSUS patch management: With the patch manager on the Windows update agent, you can quickly diagnose and fix Microsoft product patches.
- Integrations with SCCM: You can utilize System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to view and manage third-party software patches.
- Vulnerability management: You can check the patch and vulnerability status to reduce potential security risks.
Why we recommend SolarWinds Patch Manager
- Human error reduction: The solution automates the software patching process, eliminating manual errors.
- Vulnerabilities reduction: You can schedule automated patch deployment that kicks in whenever there is an update for a vulnerable software or whenever a new version is released.
- Simplified patch management: The pre-built/pre-tested packages help streamline the patch management process from research to deployment.
Most users have found SolarWinds patch manager challenging to use at first.
4. Heimdal Patch Asset Management
Heimadal Patch and Asset Management is an automated tool designed to update software, track digital asset solutions, and automatically install updates.
It allows the deployment and updating of any MacOS, Linux, Microsoft and third-party software from anywhere in the world.
- Customizable schedule: You can prioritize specific user groups, force-push critical updates, and uninstall unstable software versions.
- Cross-platform patching: You can unify the updates of MacOS, Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Ubuntu in a single patch and asset management solution.
- Policy and compliance management: You can simplify ongoing automatic software patching with a customizable set-and-forget settings policy. The customization offers seamless deployment as local P2P patch distribution requires minimal bandwidth resources while maintaining a precise audit rail.
Why we recommend Heimdal Patch Asset Management
- Multi-platform automation: You can streamline and simplify patch management across platforms. Think Microsoft, Linux, Apple and third-party software.
- Compliance with industry regulations: Your software and applications are kept up-to-date with security updates consistently patched and securely configured. The patching process ensures compliance with industry regulations, including GDPR, NIS2, and Cyber Essentials.
- Complete control: You enjoy hassle-free patch management and control over scheduling, hands-free setups, and deployment.
Most users find the solution complex to set up and manage, requiring more technical teams to manage the custom patching policies.
If you run an MSSP, please take some few minutes to familiarize yourself with theimportance of asset intelligence for MSSPs.
Action1 is a cloud-native risk-based patch management solution for distributed networks, designed to streamline the deployment of software updates.
- Real-time detection: Action1 provides visibility into the critical patches for third parties and Windows systems to realize any missing updates.
- Efficient remediation: Offline endpoints are patched as they go online with bandwidth-efficient P2P update distribution.
- Patch compliance: The real-time compliance reporting offers 99% patch compliance.
Why we recommend Action1
- Security: The solution is security-assured with SOC 2 Type II and ISO 27001: 2022 security controls.
- Scalability: You can scale distributed enterprise networks in real time
- Vulnerability elimination: Real-time patch compliance reduces vulnerability risks, protecting systems and applications against cyber threats.
The remote desktop feature in Action1 is missing. This can limit flexibility around troubleshooting.
Automox is a cloud-native automated solution designed to offer automated patch management to scan and remediate endpoint devices.
The solution uses advanced algorithms to analyze, manage and apply third-party and OS patches and software updates to endpoints.
- Hands-free configuration: You can use the pre-tested 320+ worklets or custom-make patch management policies based on business needs.
- Remote control: Troubleshoot macOS and Windows endpoints through remote control with minimal interference in user activities.
- Automated policy enforcement: Avoid configuration drift by enforcing patch management, deployment, configuration, and worklet tasks.
Why we recommend Automox
- Flexible device targeting: You can execute various patches simultaneously by targeting specific attributes such as OS, hostname, or custom tags.
- Single, lightweight agent: At 10MB, the solution offers excellent patch management services with minimal impact on resources and end users.
- Cross-platform support: The solution manages Linux, macOS, and Windows from a single console, anywhere, anytime.
Most users find the solution limited in its support for third-party application patching
7. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
Patch Manager Plus is an all-round patching solution designed by Manage-Engine to offer automated patch deployment for macOS, Windows and Linux endpoints.
It also supports patching for 950+ third-party updates across over 850 on-premise and cloud-based third-party applications.
- Flexible deployment policies: Easily tailor patch policies to meet unique business needs.
- Automated patch management: You can automate all patch management phases, including assessment, scanning, deployment, and reporting.
- Group patch testing and approval: You can create group patches, test, and approve them for automatic deployment in the production environment.FBY
Why we recommend ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus
- Seamless integration: ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus integrates with a wide range of applications, including ServiceDesk Plus and Tenable.io
- Cross-platform support: Supports multiple platforms, including MacOS, Linux and Windows.
- Third-party app patching: You can manage and deploy over 850 third-party patches, including Java and Adobe.
Most users find the reasons for failed patch deployments unclear.
8. PDQ Deploy
PDQ Deploy is a patch management and software deployment program designed to deploy custom scripts and update third-party software.
It also automates the patch management processes to safeguard Windows endpoints against vulnerabilities.
- Automated deployment: You can schedule routine updates for off hours to avoid interfering with user activities.
- Pre-built packages: The pre-built package libraries ensure updated packages are readily available to download and install.
- Granular control: Use the collections feature to target updates based on specific criteria such as department.
Why we recommend PDQ Deploy
- Custom packages: Flexibly build package libraries suited to unique business needs.
- Patch status updates: You can set to receive patch deployment status via email, Microsoft Teams or Slack notifications.
- Automatic redeployment: You can line up failed deployments and knock them down using the automatic redeployment feature.
Most users find it challenging to manage devices outside their local networks.
9. SanerNow by SecPod
SanerNow patch management is a cloud-delivered service designed to automatically identify and roll out patches.
This patch management tool uses user-defined rules, jobs plus various tools to scan and detect vulnerabilities, analyze and remediate patch updates. It also offers asset management, compliance management and security management.
- Automated patching: You can automate the entire patch management lifecycle.
- Customized patching: You can create automation rules based on organizational requirements.
- Remote patching: The solution offers a unified view of patching tasks on a cloud-based console. You can deploy patches across globally distributed applications, fix misconfigurations and vulnerabilities from anywhere in the world.
Why we recommend SanerNow by SecPod
- Easy patch management: The solution offers a role-based control for easy delegation of tasks, tracking and execution.
- Multiplatform support: SanerNow supports patching for all major operating systems, including Linux, Mac and Windows.
- Multiple third-party apps patching: The solution supports patching for over 450 third-party applications.
Most users find SanerNow’s solution comparatively expensive to set up and manage.
10. NinjaOne patch management
NinjaOne patch management is a cloud-based tool designed to gain visibility into the entire IT portfolio.
It helps identify, detect, evaluate, and install patches to any device, anywhere.
- Pre-emptive patch approval: You can prevent zero days and automatically block problem patches to avoid service outages.
- Vulnerability data visibility: To determine endpoint security, you can view per-patch data for known vulnerabilities, such as CVE bulletins and KB articles.
- Patch activity log: You can view admins who have approved or denied patches, including all activity timelines.
Why we recommend NinjaOne patch management
- Remote point patching: You can patch any endpoint without a VPN since the solution is cloud-based and agent-based.
- Less time spent patching: The solution cuts down 90% of time spent on patching since you can automate all patch management processes.
- All-round patching: You can patch Mac, Windows and Linux workstations, servers and laptops from a centralized console.
Generally, NinjaOne offers limited automation and platform support compared to most patch management solutions.
11. Kaseya VSA Patch management
Kaseya's patch management module is designed to identify, source, test, deploy and install patches for all applications and systems.
It routinely updates 100+ third-party applications, including WinZip, TeamViewer, Microsoft Skype, Google Chrome and Apple iTunes.
- Policy-based patch management: Quickly approve, schedule, and install patches with customizable policy profiles.
- Rapid distribution on and off-network: Optimize the delivery of installer packages using VSA agent endpoint fabric.
- Patch overrides: Easily block specific updates and deny some patches to override the default patch classification.
Why we recommend Kaseya VSA Patch management solution
- Great control: You can control the patching process, including writing a script to skip problematic patches automatically.
- Compliance management: The solution offers detailed patch reports that you can use to check patch status and ensure compliance.
- Scheduled scan and analysis: You can set the solution to scan endpoints and run updates at off hours without interrupting user activities.
The solution doesn’t natively support third-party application patching.
The consequences of poor patch management practices
In December 2022, Rackspace, the cloud service provider, was hit by the Play ransomware operation.
The attack exploited a known zero-day vulnerability (CVE-2022-41080) in Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange email system.
The result was a breach affecting 27 customers and service outages, putting Rackspace’s reputation at risk.
This is what happens when patch management is not taken seriously. And one of the ways to know that there is lack of seriousness is when an organization uses poor tools. The right patch management software, like the ones featured here, will put you in a vintage position to avoid most of the agonizing patch-related surprises that many organizations encounter.