Best Patch Management Tools for Linux

Nobody likes to spend the day hopping on and off computers to install patches, and a good patch management solution can turn a long-winded chore into a simple process.

Patch management tools that deploy updates to devices throughout your network remotely are one of the greatest time-saving solutions you have at your disposal.

Here is our list of the Best Linux Patch Management tools:

  1. Ivanti Web-based patch management tool for Linux, Unix, and Mac. It comes with automatic patch deployment, scheduling, and testing. It also includes a customizable reports system.
  2. GFI LanGuard Patch management software for Linux, Microsoft, and macOS devices. On Linux, the tool supports RedHat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and Fedora 19.
  3. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus Patch management solution for managing Linux, Windows, and Mac devices. The user can set deployment policies, schedule future patches, test patches and generate reports.
  4. Syxsense Patch management tool compatible with Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE Enterprise, and Oracle Enterprise Linux. It includes automated patching and reporting features.
  5. Automox Cloud-based patch manager for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Configure policies and automatically patch devices throughout your network or create custom scripts with Automox Worklets.
  6. Kace Systems Management Appliance Systems management solution with software deployment and patch management for Linux, Windows, and macOS. It also supports custom package installations.
  7. SanerNow Patch Management Cloud-based patch management tool that supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. Includes automated patch discovery, task scheduling, and reports.
  8. HCL Software BigFix Patch management tool compatible with Linux, UNIX, Windows, and macOS. Automatically discovers and distributes software to connected devices.
  9. Red Hat Satellite A software and system management package that automatically introduces patches for registered software.
  10. SysWard Patch management tool compatible with CentOS, Ubuntu, RedHat, Debian, OpenSUSE, SUSE, Fedora, Oracle Linux, and more. It includes a dashboard and an alerts system.

Best Patch Management Tools for Linux

1. Ivanti

Ivanti

Ivanti is a centralized patch management solution for Linux, Unix, and Mac systems. The tool has a web-based console where the user can test and deploy patches automatically. There is also a patch scheduling feature so you can set patches to deploy ahead of time.

The software also has a reporting function, which shows how many devices haven’t been patched, with graphs and pie charts for greater visibility. Reports are customizable so you can choose how the patch data is displayed on the screen. These reports are very useful for regulatory compliance because they help to verify that your infrastructure is up to date.

Ivanti is a solution suitable for companies seeking to deploy patches in cross-platform environments. It’s easy to use and gives the user complete control over device security. To find out the pricing information for Ivanti, you will have to contact the company directly. You can request a quote.

2. GFI LanGuard

GFI LanGuard

GFI LanGuard is a piece of patch management software that can patch Linux, Microsoft, macOS, and other third-party applications including Apple QuickTime, Mozilla Firefox, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash Player, Shockwave Player, Mozilla Thunderbird, Java Runtime, and more. For Linux, users, GFI LanGuard supports a range of distributions including RedHat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, and Fedora 19.

The tool comes with a quality GUI where you can manage patches across all of your connected devices. Scan your network manually or automatically to download new patches. Automatic patch downloading is great for reducing the manual administration you have to do to update devices.

There is also a vulnerability assessment feature, which can detect over 60,000 vulnerabilities. Vulnerability scans use a combination of OVALand SANS Top 20 to scan for vulnerabilities within your devices. If there is a problem then the software provides you with additional information about the status so you can resolve it.

There are four versions of GFI LanGuard available to purchase: Starter, Small, Medium, and Large. Prices start at $26 (£19.91) per node for the Starter version between 10-49 nodes. You can download the 30-day free trial.

3. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus

ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus

ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is a patch management solution that can manage Linux, Windows, and Mac devices. The platform offers an agent for the following OS’s; Red Hat, SUSE Linux, Ubuntu, Debian, and CentOS. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus scans online for missing patches and tests them before deploying them to your computer. The user can schedule patch scans to continually find new scans.

To ensure that you stay protected, ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus allows you to set deployment policies and prioritize searching for patches with the highest priority. For example, the software will install critical patches before focusing on low or moderate severity level updates.

With System Health Reports you can check how your computers are performing after the patch has been installed. Here you can view the patch status and verify that the vulnerability is secured.

There are three On-Premises versions of ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus available: Free Edition, Professional, and Enterprise. The Free Edition supports up to 20 computers and five servers free of charge.

The Professional annual subscription costs $245 (£187.66) with third-party patch management and report scheduling. The Enterprise version costs $345 (£264.26) with automatic testing and approval. You can start the 30-day free trial.

4. Syxsense (Syxsense Secure and Syxsense Manage)

Syxsense

Syxsense is a patch management software for Linux devices that supports Ubuntu, CentOS, Red Hat Enterprise, SUSE Enterprise, and Oracle Enterprise Linux. The software automatically patches devices that are vulnerable. Through the dashboard, you can monitor device health, which is determined based on what patches the device is missing.

The reports give you a more holistic perspective of your devices. Here you can view an overview of device vulnerabilities. Reports can be filtered and customized to make sure that you only see the data that’s relevant to your environment.

There is an advanced version of Syxsense called Syxsense Secure that is designed for users who want threat detection and prevention combined with patch management. Syxsense Secure uses AI to scan for threats in real-time and sends you alerts about threats to your environment.

There are two versions of Syxsense available to purchase: Syxsense manage and Syxsense secure. Syxsense management is a cloud-based solution with patch management and software distribution capabilities. Syxsense Secure is a vulnerability management software with OS patching, third party patching, threat alerts, and more. Prices start at $4 (£3.06) per endpoint per month but you can request a complete quote from the company website. Start the 14-day free trial.

5. Automox

Automox

Automox is a cloud-based patch management platform for Linux, Windows, and macOS. Automox can automatically patch vulnerable devices. The tool is easy to use and deploy with a lightweight agent that has a minimal impact on your system resources.

Through the GUI the user can create policies and assign them to devices or groups. Grouping devices together makes it much easier to manage a high number of devices. For example, if a user creates a group of devices then they can edit policies and affect the entire group.

Grouped devices can also be supported by department, OS, or region, enabling simple navigation. If you need more control then you can use Automox Worklets to script custom tasks.

Automox is one of the most low maintenance patch management tools on this list with excellent configuration options. There are two versions of Automox available to purchase: Patch, and Patch & Manage. Prices start at $3 (£2.30) per device per month. You can start the 15-day free trial.

6. KACE Systems Management Appliance

KACE Systems Management Appliance

KACE Systems Management Appliance is a systems management solution with a patch management feature. On Linux, the software agent is compatible with Linux Red Hat Linux AS and ES, Ubuntu, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Raspbian Linux.

The software deploys automated updates to Linux, Mac and Windows computers or servers. The software also supports custom package installations, in .rpm, .zip., .bin, .tgz.m and tar.gz on Linux.

The GUI allows the user to monitor their entire asset inventory through the dashboard. On the dashboard, you can view devices and monitor performance. If you click through to the Patch Management screen you can view statistics and complete actions such as detecting missing patches, deploying available patches, and rolling back installed patches.

KACE Systems Management Appliance is one of the most complete patch management tools on the market. The tool is available as a virtual or hosted appliance. To receive a quote you will need to contact the company directly. You can download the 30-day free trial.

7. SanerNow Patch Management

SanerNow

SanerNow Patch Management is a cloud-based patch management solution that automates patches to Linux, Windows, and macOS. SanerNow Patch Management can automatically discover new patches and apply them without manual intervention. If a patch causes problems then the software can roll them back.

To use the tool, the user configures patch rules and then schedules tasks for the tool to complete. For example, you can configure a rule to automatically patch devices. You can also prioritize patches according to the level of severity.

To help you keep an eye on what devices have been patched, SanerNow Patch Management comes with a reporting feature. Reports show you which patches have been rolled out and what risks they’ve protected you against. Elements like patching impact analysis and historical tracking help to show what changes have been made to your network.

SanerNow Patch Management is one of the top patch management tools for those enterprises that want a basic asset management experience. The software supports Redhat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Fedora, Oracle Linux, Amazon Linux, Ubuntu, and Debian on Linux. To find out the pricing information, you will have to contact the sales team directly. You can try the free trial.

8. HCL Software BigFix

HCL Software

HCL Software BigFix is endpoint management and patch management software for Linux, UNIX, Windows, and macOS. HCL Software BigFix combines automated asset discovery with automatic software distribution to update devices efficiently with minimal user intervention. The tool is scalable and can monitor up to 250,000 different endpoints.

You can use the tool to monitor endpoint states in real-time. Real-time monitoring enables you to see patch levels and confirms whether a patch has been deployed successfully before updating the management server.

Confirming installations is useful for providing evidence of patching in a regulatory compliance scenario. There is also a reporting system that allows you to highlight entities that need updates.

HCL Software BigFix is worth investigating if you need to manage devices divided up between different operating systems. It also has the bandwidth to support everyone from SME’s to large companies. To view the pricing information you will have to contact the company directly. You can schedule a demo.

9. Red Hat Satellite

Red Hat Satellite - Infrastructure view

RHEL owners can maintain their operating system, RHEL utility components, and any other software installed on the system with the RHEL Satellite service. This is a complete system management tool that will monitor all versions of software installed on your RHEL machine and the operating system, too.

The Satellite software is a suite of tools. This is a substantial package and it takes 90 minutes to install. The nine components are:

  • The Foreman: A provision and lifecycle management tool for both physical and virtual systems.
  • Katello: Subscription and repository management.
  • Candlepin: The subscription management part of Katello.
  • Pulp: The content and repository management part of Katello.
  • Hammer: A command line interface for all Satellite functions.
  • REST API: A RESTful API to enable the creation of integration modules.
  • Apache Tomcat: The embedded server for the front end of the Satellite system.
  • Puppet: A Puppet Master server.
  • Hiera: a key-value database needed for Puppet.

The key element in all of this is Katello, which is where all the patch management functions lie.

The Satellite system is able to manage the operating system and software of several hosts owned by an organization and it can also include remote and cloud servers. The system is free to use and is available from the Red Hat website.

10. SysWard

Sysward

SysWard is a patch management solution that supports a range of operating systems for Linux including CentOS, Ubuntu, RedHat, Debian, OpenSUSE, SUSE, Fedora, Oracle Linux, and more. Through the dashboard, you can view a view of updates broken down into Security Updates, Regular Updates, Dead Hosts, Job Failures, and more.

You can also view a list of Agents within your network. The Agents view shows you information including the OS, Hostname, Group, Updates, Memory, Version, and Last Checkin. The Agents view is good for managing your asset inventory and monitoring update statuses. If you need to, you can export this data in CSV format.

The platform also comes with an alerts system that produces a notification whenever a new patch is available for a package. Alerts are assigned a level of severity based on how important they are to your network. The alerts feature is useful because it keeps you updated on changes to your infrastructure.

SysWard is a good choice for enterprises that want a simple patch management tool with a low price tag. The software is available for free for up to two agents. If you need more, you can purchase a paid plan starting at $12.50 (£9.57) per month for up to five servers. You can download the program for free.

Choosing a patch management tool for Linux: Reporting is a Must!

Going from device to device searching for updates and installing them isn’t the most efficient way to patch dozens of devices. Linux Patch management tools take care of the tedious task of finding and installing patches so that you can focus on more pressing issues.

The less time you spend installing updates manually the more time you can spend on more important tasks. We’ve listed a variety of tools on this list to suit enterprises of all kinds. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is a great place to start if you’re looking for a basic and accessible solution.

When searching for a patch management solution it is a good idea to purchase one with reports. A good reporting feature will allow you to check up on what vulnerabilities have been patched and verify that your network is secure. They can also be extremely useful if you’re ever audited by a third party!

Linux Patch Management FAQs

How often should patch management be performed?

Perform a patch run at least once a week. That’s a good compromise cycle length but each business has different constraints. The typical non-committal advice given all over the internet is “that depends” because network managers are also constrained by service level agreements that sometimes require constant availability. Ensure that contract managers insert a once-a-week window in system availability agreements for patches that require the system to be bounced.

Why is patch management important for network security?

Patches are issued to close off security vulnerabilities that have been revealed by hacker attacks after the current version of the software was finalized and released. In most cases, new versions of software and operating systems have been extensively tested and analyzed for bugs before they are released. So, patches are not usually issued because the developers got something wrong in their original software versions. Patch management is an essential part of system security procedures and should be regarded as a priority task.

What is a kernel patch?

A kernel patch is an update to the operating system in Unix and Unix-like systems. This group of operating systems includes Mac OS, Linux, BSD, Android, Amazon Fire OS, and Raspberry Pi.