The biggest challenge facing IT professionals today is security. It is critical for an IT administrator to have the right tools to help manage security-related issues in your environment. And where that starts is having security updates and patches installed on your workstations and servers in a timely manner. The challenge in dealing with security issues is that timing is important. The window of response for dealing with security issues has gotten more narrow as hackers are getting much better at reverse engineering system patches to exploit the holes. In this chapter, we cover the following topics:
SMS solutions for security and patch management
Phases of software update management
Benefits of software update management
MOM and security management
For IT administrators running SMS in their environment, it is important to understand how SMS can be used to deal with security and patch management-related issues. To help provide a first line of defense, it is important to use SMS effectively to automatically deploy software updates and to deal with the failures and issues that arise in these types of deployments. And because security exploits can occur in almost any program, it is important to have a comprehensive strategy that goes beyond simple updates to the operating system. Patching server applications including SQL Server, Exchange, and IIS is critical. In addition, making sure that client applications such as Microsoft Office and others are up-to-date helps to mitigate the risk of security exploits.
We'll review the features in SMS and MOM that can help IT administrators to keep their environment more secure. While the tools can't solve the problem completely, you'll see how to leverage the software and systems management tools in your environment to reduce your exposure and more effectively update your systems.