Keeping devices up-to-date is a fundamental cybersecurity practice. If devices are using software or firmware that is out-of-date, they can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks and poor performance. Patch management software is just as important as performance monitoring for keeping devices safe.
Patch management tools help administrators update devices remotely through the use of one platform. In this article, we’re going to look at the best patch management software and tools on the market.
Here is our list of the best patch management software & tools:
- SolarWinds Patch Manager EDITOR’S CHOICE A patch manager for Windows systems that is part of a wider suite of IT infrastructure management tools. This system integrates with SCCM and specializes in patching Microsoft products. Installs on Windows Server. Start a 30-day free trial.
- Atera (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based patch manager designed for deployment by managed service providers (MSPs) that includes patch availability searches and a dashboard that allows patch selection.
- NinjaRMM Patch Management (FREE TRIAL) A support tool aimed at managed service providers that patches Windows and Mac OS environments and is tuned to update 135 different software packages.
- SolarWinds RMM (FREE TRIAL) Remote monitoring and management software that is a great network monitoring tool for IT professionals and it includes patch management. This is cloud-based so it can be accessed from any operating system through a browser.
- Syxsense Manage (FREE TRIAL) A cloud-based endpoint management system that has strong patch management features and includes task automation.
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus (FREE TRIAL) A patch manager for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS that supports more than 750 applications.
- PRTG Network Monitor (FREE TRIAL) IT infrastructure monitor that also supervises software and operating system versions.
- GFI LanGuard Patch manager for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS devices that runs on Windows.
- Cloud Management Suite Cloud-based tool that patches software on windows, Linux, and Mac OS hosts.
- SysAid Patch Management This patch management tool is part of SysAid IT Asset Management. Supports manual patch strategies or be set to run automatically.
- Itarian Patch Management A patch manager for Windows system that can also patch software on Linux remotely.
- Automox This tool patches software on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS that runs automatically.
- Kaseya VSA This patch manager is part of a remote monitoring and management system for use by MSPs.
Why Do I Need to Use Patch Management Software?
Patch management tools are critical because they allow you to update multiple devices from one geographic location. Rather than updating lots of network devices individually, you can update them collectively through one platform. From one user interface, you can push software and firmware updates to devices connected to your network.
Patch management software is useful because it saves the user time and makes managing patches much easier. Being in the position to keep devices updated reduces the likelihood of a device being unpatched and compromised.
The Best Patch Management Software & Tools
First up on this list we have SolarWinds Patch Manager. SolarWinds Patch Manager is a tool used for Microsoft WSUS patch management. This tool integrates with SCCM and offers users the ability to automate patches. In other words, you don’t need to add patches manually in order to stay up-to-date. If there are any problems with patches, then you can diagnose problems with Windows Update Agent.
This comprehensive patch management experience offered by SolarWinds Patch Manager is very user-friendly. On the patch status dashboard, you can view the latest patches and the top 10 missing patches to see where your network security needs to be improved.
If you require more details you can also view the status of SCCM endpoints and additional third-party patches. Updates from the following applications are supported: Adobe, Apache, Apple, Citrix, Dell, Google, HP business, Malwarebytes, and VMware.
There are also patch compliance reports which can be used to detail the status of patches and overall regulatory requirements. All of this information can be sent onwards to other members of your team for further analysis.
- Integrates with SCCM
- Completion reports
- Patch approval
- Compliance reporting
- Full patch management automation
Overall SolarWinds Patch Manager is well-suited to those looking for a WSUS and SCCM patch management solution with a simple dashboard and patch compliance reports. SolarWinds Patch Manager starts from a price of $3,750 (£2,845). There is also a 30-day free trial available.
SolarWinds Patch Manager is our top choice for patch management software because it manages vital Windows patches and Microsoft software updates. The system also updates software for key services from Adobe, Apple, VMWare, and other major systems providers. The Patch Manager provides a unified interface for updates to all servers and endpoints on your system that run Windows versions. Control features allow patches to be paused for examination and the results of patch rollouts are displayed in the console, indicating failed updates that can be relaunched.
Start 30-day Free Trial: solarwinds.com/patch-manager
OS: Windows Server
Atera is a patch management solution and RMM software platform. This tool is designed specifically for small- to mid-sized businesses and provides a dashboard-based monitoring experience. It is SaaS-based so you can update patches on your network devices no matter where you are located. Patches can be identified and automatically updated to keep your network updated with minimal effort.
Patch management on Atera can be used to view the real-time status of system resources, active users, windows updates, SQL servers, Exchange, Active Directory, VMware, and Hyper-V. You also have the option to automatically discover newly available patches and schedule updates monthly or weekly.
Alerts is another feature that helps you to stay on top of network security. On the main dashboard, you are shown a breakdown of Recent Alerts which are ranked and color-coded with additional details. This helps to keep you in the loop about what is happening on your network and if any devices have been left vulnerable.
- Patch gathering
- Cloud-based console
- Patch completion reports
- Priced per technician
Atera offers a clearcut patch management experience that would function well within any enterprise environment type. However, the price tag makes Atera ideal for smaller organizations that want to reduce costs. It costs $79 (£59.95) per technician for unlimited devices. There is also a 30-day free trial.
NinjaRMM Patch Manager specializes in updating endpoints that run Windows and MacOS. As an RMM, this tool is specifically built to manage devices remotely, so it is an excellent software package for managed service providers (MSPs). The patch manager is able to manage updates for more than 135 different software packages.
The automation features of NinjaRMM’s patch manager can be set at any level: organization, site, department, group, or device. This enables MSPs to cover more customers with less staff and they won’t be held up by tricky client sites with varied roles and software inventories. Operators can schedule patch rollout and restart commands separately and also launch patch installation in bulk or case-by-case manually.
The console includes a visual layout to report patching activities that enables instant recognition of failed rollouts. The reporting functions of NinjaRMM support SLA compliance proof and billing functions.
NinjaRMM is a cloud-based management platform so it can be accessed from anywhere, even remotely. MSPs can white-label the interface for the service, so clients can be given access to the console without weakening the MSP’s brand.
- Updates Windows and macOS endpoints
- Scheduled rollouts
- Compliance reporting
Prices are levied per monitored device on a pay-as-you-go basis, so you won’t be tied down by contracts or early termination fees. NinjaRMM has offices in the USA, the UK, France, Spain, and Germany and the service is fully GDPR compliant. You can get a 14-day free trial of NinjaRMM.
SolarWinds RMM is a very useful network monitoring tool for IT departments that have responsibility for many sites. The remote monitoring and management software bundle includes automated patch management.
The Patch Manager in the RMM network monitoring software allows a network manager to set up different policies that trigger specific patch rollout strategies according to a list of criteria, such as device location, type, or model. The patch management software allows for manual launches or scheduled execution of patch distribution and compilation. It is also possible to launch a patch rollback on demand if a patch is later discovered to have caused problems.
Other features in the Patch Manager include disabling individual devices, heightened security for specific patch rollouts, and deep scans to detect all firmware instances that need to be managed.
The patch management utility is just one of the features included in the RMM package that support all of the functions of an IT department. Other features in the bundle include network discovery, constant SNMP network monitoring, regular endpoint management/detection, and response for security protection.
- Variable patching policies
- Status reports
- Patch availability detection
The SolarWinds RMM system is a cloud-based service and so it isn’t tied down to one specific operating system. The dashboard can be accessed from anywhere through any browser or through a mobile app. The system is charged for by subscription and it is available for a 30-day free trial.
Syxsense Manage is a cloud-based endpoint management system that is particularly strong on patch management functions. The service is able to supervise computers running Windows, macOS, and Linux. It also has the ability to manage IoT devices.
Syxsense is a good option for IT departments that are currently badly managed. If you have just taken over an IT system that has grown haphazardly has poor documentation, Syxsense Manage will sort out all of your problems with a series of automated processes. The first thing you need is to locate and list all for your endpoints and Syxsense Manage does that through an automated asset discovery process. This is a continuous system so any changes to the asset inventory get detected and logged without prompting.
Syxsense Manage creates a software inventory for each endpoint, making stats and facts available in the management console sliced per package, per provider, and per endpoint. This is a great aid for license management but, for our interests here, it is also the core of a patch management system.
The Syxsense cloud service keeps a lookout for updates and patches to the software that you run, storing new patches on its own servers, so they can be delivered on a schedule. Settings in the Syxsense console decide when patches are applied – they can be run on approval or automatically, at the next available scheduled maintenance time slot or immediately. All actions of Syxsense Manage are logged, which creates an audit trail that is suitable for use for SOX, HIPAA, and PCI DSS compliance.
- Endpoint discovery
- OS and software patching
- Cloud storage
Syxsense Manage includes 50GB of cloud storage space for audit logs and available patch files. The console for the service is based in the cloud and can be accessed through any standard browser. Syxsense charges for the Manage package by subscription with the smallest available plan covering 10 devices at $600 per year.
You can get a 14-day free trial of Syxsense Manage
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is a centralized patch management tool that can be used to patch Windows, Mac OS, and Linux computers. The platform offers support for over 750 applications. ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud and is just as comfortable with managing virtual machines and servers as it is desktop devices. Patch management is automated with connected devices being scanned and assessed automatically.
The bulk of the patch management experience is delivered through the dashboard. The dashboard offers a patch view, all computer view, and a detailed view. Each view displays different information. For example, the patch view option shows you patches that are available for your network whereas the all systems view shows you the status of current devices. Changing between these options helps you to prioritize what information you wish to see.
One exceptional feature available on ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is the ability to test and approve patches. The ‘test and approve’ feature allows you to test patches on a small group of computers before you apply any changes to the entire network. Using this feature ensures that you don’t deploy any patches that put your network out of action!
- Patch Windows, Linux, and macOS devices
- Updates to 750 applications
- Test and approve option
There are three versions of ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus: the Free Edition, ProfessionalEdition, and Enterprise Edition. The Free Edition package supports up to 25 computers. The professional version supports larger LAN environments and provides patch management reports and third-party patch management. The Professional Edition adds antivirus definition updates and the ability to test and approve patches. There is also a free trial version.
PRTG Network Monitor is widely-known as a network monitoring platform but also offers centralized patch management capabilities as well. You can use this tool to check for Windows patches and other updates performed within your network. If a device is experiencing issues updating then you can see that through the dashboard view.
There are also notifications to provide real-time updates on patch status. For example, if a patch fails then you can be sent an alert with more details. To use the alerts system, all you need to do is configure a sensor for the type of system that you want to monitor. PRTG Network Monitor uses configurable sensors to measure particular segments of your network.
For example, there is a Windows Updates Status (PowerShell) Sensor. You can use this sensor to monitor the following information: time elapsed since last update, installed windows updates, missing windows updates, and hidden updates. All of this information is categorized by severity and shown to you with numerical and graphical meters.
You can configure thresholds for each sensor so that you receive a notification once certain criteria have been met. You can configure PRTG Network Monitor to notify you of the moment that an update has been missed. Alerts are sent via email, SMS, or push notifications.
- Patch availability scans
- Status reports
- Software audits
There is a free version of PRTG Network Monitor which supports up to 100 sensors. If you need more than that, you can purchase one of the paid versions. The price of the paid versions depends on the number of sensors you require. The paid versions start with PRTG 500 which provides 500 sensors for $1600 (£1,214). You can download a 30-day free trial.
GFI LanGuard is a patch management solution that can patch Windows, Mac OS, and Linux devices. It is backed by over 60,000 vulnerability assessments to help keep your devices up-to-date. GFI LanGuard can monitor over 60 third-party applications including Active Python, FileZilla Client, Apache Web Server, Apple QuickTime, Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat, Core FTP, Nmap, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, VMware Player, and more.
All you need to run GFI LanGuard is Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Standard DataCenter, Microsoft Windows Server 2012, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Windows 10 Pro/Enterprise, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Windows Vista or Microsoft Small Business Server 2011.
Mid-sized organizations looking for a patch management solution that can be configured alongside a WSUS server that is reliable and easy to deploy would be well-advised to consider GFI Languard.
- Patch Windows, macOS, and Linux devices
- Updates 60 applications
- Vulnerability scans
The tool costs $24 (£18) for a one-year subscription. There is also a node-based pricing structure that costs $26.00 (£19) per user for nodes 25-49. Between nodes 50-249 this drops to $14.00 (£10.62) and then drops to $10 (£7.59) per node for 250-2999. There is also a free trial version that you can download here.
Cloud Management Suite is a versatile patch management solution that offers support for Windows, Mac, Linux, and third-party applications. This tool is cloud-based and is accessed through a web browser. Cloud Management Suite can be deployed in less than an hour. From the moment you launch the program, there are automated patch queries that show you the Critical and Top 10 Windows patches so that you can kick start your patch management.
If you need to look closer into patches you can generate reports. Reports provide you with a record of the patch data you have produced in real-time. For additional security over your patch records, you can enable two-factor authentication with an email or SMS.
- Patches Windows, Linux, and macOS devices
- Patch availability detection
- Patch prioritization
There are three versions of Cloud Management Suite: Cloud Management Suite Essentials, Cloud Management Suite, and Cloud Management Suite Realtime Security. The Essentials version offers third-party patching and device discovery with one console user account. The Essentials version offers five console user accounts and reports. The Cloud Management Suite Realtime Security version offers unlimited user accounts and live device location maps. You can download the free trial here.
SysAid Patch Management is a tool that integrates into SysAid IT Asset Management that is designed to keep computers and windows servers up-to-date. Patches can be automatically and manually updated. The tool has been designed to make the setup process as simple as possible and the user interface maintains this usability from managing patches to configuring manual updates.
SysAid Patch Management supports many different third-party applications including Adobe Flash, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Java, RealPlayer, Safari, Skype, Mozilla Thunderbird, Yahoo Messenger, Apple iTunes, and 7-Zip. In other words, you can monitor most third-party services and applications without leaving the management platform.
- Patches endpoints and servers
- Patch management automation or manual options
- Status reports
The patch management experience offered by SysAid Patch Management has something to offer enterprises of all sizes. There are three versions available for purchase: A La Carte, Full and Basic. However, you need to contact the company directly to view a quote. There is also a free trial which can be downloaded here.
Itarian Patch Management is another patch management solution that simplifies the patch management process. Itarian Patch Management is designed specifically for Windows patches and can update Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows XP Gold, Windows Vista, Vista, Gold, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10. Third-party patches are available on request if you require patches for other devices.
The user interface is relatively basic but gets the job done well. From launch, you can start to automatically discover devices in your network to begin detecting and patching future vulnerabilities.
From then on, you can create policies to run automatic patch deployment and schedule updates. This means that computers will be updated on an automated basis. You can also go a step further and remotely deploy updates for Windows and Linux machines. Itarian Patch management thus provides an exceptional remote patch management experience.
- Patches Windows and Linux
- Automated software updates
- Status reports
Few tools offer the complete remote patch management solution that Itarian Patch Management does. One of the perks of Itarian Patch Management is that you can download it for free before you upgrade (you’ll need to contact the company directly for a quote). All you need to do to begin is enter your email. The free trial version of Italian Patch Management is available here.
Automox is an OS and third-party patching solution for Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. On Automox, available patches are deployed automatically. However, on the dashboard, you can also view available patches and accept or reject as needed. There is also the option to see further information if you need to know more before deploying a patch. You can even create custom scripts to dictate how patches are deployed.
This program also offers support for a range of third-party applications. Adobe, MozillaFirefox, and Google Chrome are just some of the names that Automox offers support for. The mix of OS and third-party support makes Automox ideal in most enterprise environments because it can sustain lots of different software providers.
There are two pricing options available for Automox: the Basic and Full versions. The basic version clocks in at $1.60 (£1.21) per endpoint per month. The Full version is billed at $4.00 (£3.04) per active endpoint per month. The main difference between the two is that the Full version offers advanced policy features, a rules-based patching engine, and custom end-user notifications. There is also a 15-day free trial that you can download here.
Finally, we have Kaseya VSA. With Kaseya VSA you can view the patch status of devices connected to your network in real-time. You can tell whether a machine has patches available regardless of whether it is turned on or off. All of this information is shown through one dashboard view so that you don’t miss anything. You also have the control to Override Profiles and block patches that you don’t want to deploy.
One of the key selling points of Kaseya VSA is that you don’t need to maintain a centralized file share or LAN cache. The Agent Endpoint Fabric sends update packages more efficiently reducing the resource footprint needed to update connected devices.
In addition, to make sure that you don’t fall behind, Kaseya VSA has a notifications system. You configure the platform to send you an alert if issues like defragmentation are recognized on a device.
Kaseya VSA also offers wider network monitoring capabilities to measure key metrics like CPU, memory usage, disk usage, and bandwidth usage to provide comprehensive coverage. The ability to manage the physical health of devices alongside their patch status makes this a top of the line patch management solution.
The price of Kaseya VSA depends on the number of endpoints you require. The more endpoints you have, the higher the price. However, you’ll have to contact the company directly if you want to view a quote. Although there is also a 14-day free trial available here.
Choosing Patch Management Software
Though there are many different patch management tools, SolarWinds Patch Manager, Atera, NinjaRMM, and Cloud Management Suite stand out as some of the best on this list. Each of these tools has the design and production value to sustain networks of all sizes. These three tools are competitively-priced making them accessible to smaller organizations as well.
However, if the price tag of these tools is too high a tool like PRTG Network Monitor is a formidable alternative. Being able to create your own patch management sensors helps to give you all the functionality of some higher-priced tools without the costs (though you can always transition to paid versions as well!).
Likewise, if you want general network monitoring features as well you can simply provision network monitoring sensors to keep tabs on your network. Combining patch management and network monitoring is useful for limiting the potential for vulnerabilities of all shapes and sizes.
Investing in a patch management tool will pay off over the long term as you keep your network’s devices updated and safe from critical software vulnerabilities. Trying to manually update patches inconsistently can have disastrous consequences if a cyber attacker exploits an unpatched vulnerability. By using a patch management tool you can reduce the risk of a successful attack and stay online.
Patch Management FAQs
Which patch management software is best at documenting vulnerabilities?
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus maintains a vulnerability database
- GFI LANGuard includes a vulnerability scanner and patch manager
- Kaseya VSA checks the software inventory against a list of common vulnerabilities and exposures
- Syxsense Secure Implements a vulnerability scan and patches automatically
How often should patch management be performed?
In any standard environment, once a month should be a sufficient frequency for patch rollouts to be performed. More critical systems should be patched more frequently – the US Department of Defense uses a 21-day timeframe.
What is the business case for patch management?
Patch management focuses on getting the operating system and services up to date. This is particularly important for businesses as many patches are created in order to close down newly discovered exploits created by hackers. The producers of software that runs on top of the operating system assume that you have the OS up to the latest version; if you don’t apply all patches those software providers might refuse to offer support when things go wrong with their products.
What is a patch management policy?
A patch management policy is a set of working procedures that can be implemented through patch management software. It applies to different categories of software, such as applications or operating systems, and can implement patch rollout by device type, make, model, or operating system. The patch management policy dictated when and how each arriving patch is applied.