Patch management in SBS 2003 [Windows Small Business Server 2003 book excerpt]

Top of the morning to you. Harry Brelsford here, author of da’ purple book, and I am holding my daily virtual book reading. Over coffee, I post up a few passages for your reading pleasure. Today is a guest column from Frank Ohlhorst, well known SMB journalist, who was a major contributor to or book!

 

cheers…harrybbbb

Harry Brelsford, CEO at smb nation www.smbnation.com

Microsoft Small Business Specialist SBSC, MBA, MCSE, MCT, MCP, CNE, CLSE, CNP

PS – did u know I host an annual conference in Seattle each october for SBSers and SMB consultants? This year we help launch SBS 2008 and Essential Business Server (EBS) between October 4-6!

Guest Column

Enhancing Security with Patch Management

Frank Ohlhorst

Keeping software up to date with patches is one of the most important tasks that can be performed when it comes to maintaining a secure and reliable network. Microsoft introduces several patches monthly for a variety of products and the importance of those patches can not be under estimated. The recent blaster worm outbreaks and a host of other security problems could have been prevented if systems had been properly patched. The problem is that applying patches is often overlooked or put off indefinably, mostly due to either ignorance or the chores involved.

Integrators have real opportunity with patch management, by automating and

managing the process, integrators can both protect their customers and generate

service revenue on a contractual basis or as part of an overall support plan.

The first step to effective patch management is to find an ally. That ally comes in software form. The primary job of a patch management product is to scan networked systems and determine if patching is needed. That is accomplished by examining a systems setup and comparing it to a known patch database. Furthermore, better patch management products keep a detailed history of patches applied and offer rollback and change management capabilities.

Many patch management solutions exist on the market from major players such as BigFix, Configuresoft and PatchLink, but those products are usually geared towards enterprise networks and can cost upwards of several thousand dollars. Those servicing the SBS market can turn to a free patch management product from Shavlik Software (www.shavlik.com). That company offers a 10 seat version of HFNetChkPro AdminSuite at no charge. Integrators will find HFNetCHKPro a powerful patch management solution. Shavlik’s offering does a complete job of scanning both servers and workstations and determines what patches are needed, much of the process can be automated, yet provide detailed information on needed patches. The product also tracks when patches were applied and what each recommended patch does in detail.

 Visit http://www.smbnation.com for additional SMB and SBS book, newsletter and conference resources.

Integrators will find patch management an important service for their SBS customers that can be included as part of an overall management and system maintenance service that protects SBS customers interests while providing on going revenue and piece of mind.

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