Trying to keep up with all the software updates put out by vendors every day is a never-ending task. With all these updates, software update checkers are a must-have for staying on top of software updates.
These tools not only automatically deploy patches, but also provide you with a central location to check whether devices have been updated.
Here is our list of the eleven best software update tools:
- Atera RMM Patch Management EDITOR’S CHOICE A complete support solution for MSPs, the RMM bundle included with Atera includes a patch management system. Start a free trial.
- NinjaOne (FREE TRIAL) This package of tools for MSP technicians helps managed service providers automate patching and cut costs. This is a cloud platform. Access a 14-day free trial.
- SolarWinds Patch Manager (FREE TRIAL) A top pick for software updates. Patch management software for Windows that supports WSUS and SCCM with automated patching, a dashboard, patch compliance reports, and more.
- SuperOps (FREE TRIAL) This cloud-based package includes Asset Management, Policy Management, Patch Management, and Alert Management. The system is also partnered by a PSA module.
- N-able N-sight Patch Management (FREE TRIAL) A remote monitoring and management tool that includes a patch management utility.
- ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus (FREE TRIAL) An automated patching system for Windows, macOS, and Linux that automatically detects out of date software. Runs on Windows Server or can be accessed as a SaaS package.
- Kaseya VSA Remote monitoring and management (RMM) and patch management software with automated software updates, network discovery, reports, and more.
- Spiceworks Network Inventory Free network discovery software for Windows with automatic software updates, custom reports, and more.
- Connectwise Automate RMM and patch management software with automated software updates, device discovery, notifications, and more.
- ITarian Patch management software for Windows that can automatically discover devices and deploy updates, with reports, change management, and more.
- GFI LanGuard Patch management software with autodiscovery and automated software updates, reporting, and more.
The Best Software Update Tools
Our comparison includes a range of tools including patch management tools with automated patching, software updaters, and more. We’ve kept a lookout for those with highly-configurable GUI’s, custom dashboards, notifications, alerts, and automation capabilities.
Our methodology for selecting software updater tools
We reviewed the market for patch management solutions for software updates and analyzed tools based on the following criteria:
- Centralized software updater
- Polling for update availability
- Combined operating system and software updates
- Patch application automation
- Management for a fleet of devices
- A free trial or a demo package for a no obligation assessment opportunity
- Value for money from an automated system that is offered at a reasonable price
With these selection criteria in mind, we looked for systems that will centralize update management for a long list of software installed on a fleet of devices.
1. Atera RMM Patch Management (FREE TRIAL)
Atera RMM is a cloud-based service that provides all of the software that an MSP needs. The bundle of utilities in the Atera system includes both PSA and RMM functions. The RMM part of the Atera service has a patch management utility built into it.
- Patch automation
- Post-installation reboot option
- Multi-tenant environment
- Status reports
- 30-day free trial
Atera’s patch management function is an automated process. An agent on each client site logs all of the firmware, operating systems, services, and software installed on each host. This enables the central Atera system to check regularly for updates for each. When patches arrive, the Atera patch manager knows which devices they need to be applied to.
Those patches will be applied automatically to each client host. However, the patch manager interface allows individual patches to be put on hold either entirely or for specific endpoints on the client’s system. It is also possible to specify a reboot after the implementation of a patch.
- Minimalistic interface makes it easy to view the metrics that matter most
- A flexible pricing model makes it a viable option for small businesses
- Includes multiple PSA features, great for helpdesk teams and growing MSPs
- Can track SLAs and includes a time tracking option for maintenance tasks
- Focuses heavily on MSP related tools, other businesses may not be able to utilize multi-tenant features
Each installation generates a log record and the patch run also results in a status report. Atera is charged for by subscription with a rate calculated per technician per month. This pricing model is great for startups and growing businesses because there are no upfront costs to start using the system to support customers. Licenses can be added or reduced as the MSP’s technician pool changes in size. Atera is available for a free trial.
The feedback system in the Atera dashboard also lists each patch, the devices it was applied to, and the success or failure of the update. Troublesome patch runs can be reapplied either automatically, or individually according to the reason for the installation failure.
Get a Free Trial: atera.com
2. NinjaOne (FREE TRIAL)
NinjaOne is a cloud platform that provides all of the tools that managed service providers need to support the IT systems of their clients. The console for the service is resident in the cloud and can be accessed through any standard Web browser. That means you don’t need to install any software on your site or maintain your own servers. The bundle of tools that are accessed through that dashboard includes an automated patch manager.
- Automated patch management
- Part of a suite of tools
- Designed for MSPs
- Patches Windows and macOS
- Patches 135 software packages
The patch management system can maintain endpoints running Windows and macOS. The system scans the network of a client site and records all of the connected devices that it encounters. It then scans each device, noting all of the software installed on it. This software inventory includes a record of the version number for each installation of an operating system or application. These version numbers indicate the patch status of each piece of software.
Knowing what software is being managed, the NinjaOne system automatically checks with providers for the availability of patches. When one becomes available, the system copies over the installer and notifies the MSP.
As well as looking out for patches to operating systems, the NinjaOne service will poll for the availability of updates to more than 135 software packages. Patches aren’t installed instantly. The MSP needs to set up allowed maintenance windows for each client site. The NinjaOne patch manager will queue up all incoming patches until the next available maintenance slot. Those patches are then applied unattended.
The console allows for individual patches to be held up for analysis and it is also possible to adjust the expected rollout date and time. Normally, patches are applied out of office hours because it is common for the installation to require a system reboot in order to complete. The NinjaOne logs the actions of the patch manager and patch events with their termination statuses are shown in the console.
Failed patches can be examined and then rerun manually or re-queued for the next maintenance period. The logs generated by the patch manager are also available for SLA confirmation.
- Can silently install and uninstall applications and patches while the user works
- Patch management and other automated maintenance tasks can be easily scheduled
- Platform agnostic web-based management
- A great option for MSPs
- Integrates well into other Ninja products
- Would like to see a longer 30-day trial period
NinjaOne is a subscription service with a rate per monitored device. You can assess the platform on a 14-day free trial.
3. SolarWinds Patch Manager (FREE TRIAL)
SolarWinds Patch Manager is a patch management tool for Windows that can monitor and install software updates. SolarWinds Patch Manager uses automated patching to automatically update patches on devices. The platform is great for Windows environments as it can diagnose performance issues with Windows Update Agent. There is also integration with SCCM so you can manage endpoints with SCCM installed.
- Automated patching
- Patch compliance reports
- Integration with SCCM
- Custom package wizard
Monitoring the status of patches with SolarWinds Patch Manager is easy. Through the patch status dashboard, you can view available patches and see an overview of patches that are missing. Visualizations like pie charts provide you with more details. You can view a pie chart of the Top 10 patches missing to see where your network is vulnerable.
There are also patch compliance reports. Reports allow you to monitor patch status and find devices that need to be patched. The reporting feature is very useful for demonstrating regulatory compliance and showing that devices are updated if you are audited by a third party.
- Simple dashboard makes it easy to track and visual patches and their progress, even on larger networks
- Integrated directly with SCCM for a smoother patch deployment
- Pre-configured compliance reporting comes standard
- Supports a wide variety of third party patching options
- The tool is very enterprise-focused, may not be the best option for home labs or small networks
Prices start at $6,440 (£5,191), and it is available for Windows. You can start the 30-day free trial.
4. SuperOps Patch management (FREE TRIAL)
SuperOps.ai is a package of services for MSPs. This bundle includes PSA and RMM functions. The RMM part of this deal includes Asset Management, Policy Management, Patch Management, and Alert Management. These packages are intended for use by the technicians that implement the management of client systems.
- Process automation to reduce staff involvement
- Manages endpoints running Windows
- Automated asset discovery
- Comprehensive logging for technician activity
The Patch Management module is able to maintain the operating systems and software inventories of desktops and laptops running Windows. The service looks through a software inventory that is compiled by an associated asset manager. It then constantly checks with software suppliers for patch and update availability. When one becomes available, the system copies down the installer and queues it up for installation, listing the patch in the system dashboard.
The system is adaptable and presents the subscriber with options over how the patch manager should run. You need to set up a calendar of acceptable maintenance times in the dashboard. The patch manager can be set up to automatically apply those patches or to hold them for improvement.
Patch rollout can occur overnight and technicians can check on the completion status of each patch in the dashboard. All actions are logged for auditing.
- An automated device discovery system
- An automated software inventory compilation service
- Polling for patch availability
- Patch storage and scheduling
- Options for approvals or automatic rollout
- Only functions for endpoints running Windows
SuperOps, with its Patch Management module and its associated PSA service is offered in four editions: Rise for basic PSA needs at $29/month. Next there is grow for the full PSA package at $49/month, connect for MSPs that need an RMM to manage endpoints at $59/month, and ultra for the full PSA-RMM package at $99/month. All editions are available for a 21-day free trial
5. N-able N-sight Patch Management (FREE TRIAL)
N-able N-sight is a cloud-based system that enables IT departments to manage several sites centrally. This is remote monitoring and management software, so the functions within the package include all of the tools needed by an IT department to successfully run IT services — and that includes patch management.
- Status reports
- On-demand rollout
- Cloud-based system
The Patch Manager in N-able N-sight includes a great deal of automation. The service checks on all of the software, services, firmware, and operating systems installed on each site and then makes regular sweeps for available patches.
The network manager can set a daily window when patch rollouts are appropriate. Within this timeframe. The Patch Manager can then be set to automatically apply patches whenever they are available. Patches can also be applied manually through the system and individual patches can be put on hold or canceled.
Overnight patch rollouts occur unattended with statuses of each update shown in the Patch Manager interface. Failed runs can then be investigated and reset for automatic application or applied on demand.
- Excellent monitoring dashboard, great for MSPs or any size NOC teams
- Scalable cloud-based deployment
- Monitor for anywhere via a web browser
- Automatic asset discovery makes inventory management easy, even on busy networks
- Wide variety of automated remote administration options make it a solid choice for helpdesk support
- The platform can take time to fully explore all of its features and configuration options
N-able N-sight includes all of the processing power and storage space needed to run the RMM software. IT professionals access the cloud-resident system dashboard through any standard browser and there is also a N-able N-sight mobile app for access when out of the office. The service is changed for by subscription and there is a 30-day free trial available.
6. ManageEngine Patch Manager plus (FREE TRIAL)
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus includes an endpoint scanner to discover which operating systems and software packages are out of date. It then collects the required patches, schedules them for rollout, and applies them at an appropriate time.
- Patches Windows, macOS, and Linux
- Updates more than 850 software packages automatically
- Provides patch testing
Much of the patch management service is automated. The tool scans all endpoints and notes operating systems and software version numbers. This indicates patch statuses and then the system checks providers for the latest version of each system and gathers patches where appropriate.
You need to set up the system with a calendar of office hours that provides the patch manager with maintenance windows. When patches are available for installation, the patcher will sequence them according to dependencies and then apply them at the next available maintenance window.
While patches are in the queue to be applied, you can query individual patches and test them to see their effects on your system and then optionally put them on pause. Patches are applied out of office hours and you don’t need to sit and watch it run. The service provides completion statuses so you can discover later which patches failed. All actions are logged for compliance reporting.
- A high degree of patch management automation
- Completion statuses and logging for auditing
- Patch ordering according to dependencies
- Not a vulnerability manager
ManageEngine Patch Manager Plus is a software package that runs on Windows Server and it is also available as a cloud-based hosted SaaS package. There are three editions of the package and the first of these is free. The Free plan is suitable for businesses with up to 20 workstations and five servers. The Professional edition is good for a LAN and the Enterprise edition will monitor multiple sites. You can get either of the paid versions, on the cloud or on-premises on a 30-day free trial.
7. Kaseya VSA
Kaseya VSA is a remote monitoring and management (RMM) tool that can be used to automatically scan and deploy software updates for Windows, Mac, and third-party software. Kaseya VSA enables you to use policy-based patch management to create policy profiles to control when patches are deployed.
- Automated software updates
- Policy-based patch management
- Create policy profiles
- Network discovery
- Custom reports
- Remote control devices
For example, you can block specific patches for a machine or set of machines so that your devices aren’t updated without your permission. Software updates can be scheduled and approved to continually update your infrastructure. You can also use blackout windows to stop scheduling for a defined period of time.
Configuring the software is also quite simple, as you have the support of network discovery. You can discover devices and view them in a table. From there you can monitor extensive information on your asset inventory including Name, OS type, CPU, RAM, license, version, manufacturer, and more.
- Automated software deployments can help streamline adding new machines to the client network
- Does a good job at monitoring overall health and resource consumption of devices alongside patch management
- Asset groups are easy to build and assign custom policies to
- The interface is simple and customizable
- Would like to see a longer trial period
- It can be difficult to use certain patching features such as the blocking option
Kaseya VSA is a high-quality solution that’s ideal for enterprises looking for an all-in-one RMM and patch management tool. To view the pricing information for Kaseya VSA you must contact the company directly. It is available for Windows and macOS. You can start the 14-day free trial from this link here.
8. Spiceworks Network Inventory
Spiceworks Network Inventory is a network discovery tool that lets you scan for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix devices by IP range. Scans can be run one-off or you can schedule them for a future time to make sure that you’re ready to go. Once you’ve finished scanning devices, Spiceworks Network Inventory can automatically update software for Windows and Mac devices. You can also use the main table view to monitor the OS of devices manually.
- Automated software updates for Windows and Mac
- Ticketing system (with Spiceworks Help Desk)
- Custom reports
The reports system gives you complete control over how you monitor your devices. You can choose between out-of-the-box reports or create custom ones from scratch. For example, you can generate a report on computers without an antivirus to view a summary of unprotected devices.
If there are any issues with devices then you can use the ticketing system to manage them with Spiceworks Help Desk. Users can add comments on IT tickets to make sure that any updates needed are carried out promptly.
- Completely free tool
- Web-based dashboard allows access from virtually anywhere
- Integrates well into other Spiceworks tools like Spiceworks Inventory and Cloud Desk
- Reports come pre-configured and ready to run
- Scanning can be scheduled or used for one-off reports
- User interface could be less crowded, specifically around the home dashboard
- Would like to see more alerting features
- Lacks integrations into other solutions outside of the Spiceworks ecosystem
Spiceworks Network Inventory is one of the top lightweight software update checkers for updating devices. It also has the advantage of being free. The software is available for Windows. You can download the tool from this link here.
9. Connectwise Automate
Connectwise Automate is an RMM solution that can automatically apply updates to third-party applications. Connectwise Automate supports a range of applications including Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader IX and DC, Apple iTunes, Google Chrome, Mozilla Thunderbird, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Skype for Business, PDF Creator, VLC Media Player, and more.
- Patch management
- Automated device discovery
- Remote control devices
Automated asset discovery seamlessly discovers devices with network scans so you can monitor the software status of your devices. In effect, you can automatically discover a device and then deploy an agent. Managing your infrastructure in this way is incredibly efficient and allows you to stay on top of updates with ease. Automated notifications let you know when there are performance issues that need to be addressed.
- Remote management, inventory management, and reporting are all accessible from a single dashboard
- Interface templates can be made for individuals or entire teams
- Supports automation as well as remote troubleshooting without impacting the user session
- 100+ pre-configured commands and templates to use out-of-box.
- Prefer a longer trial period to explore all features
- The interface can be confusing, especially in the reporting and management areas
- Patch deployment policies can fail to push out and be complicated to troubleshoot
- Steeper learning curve than most other patch management tools
Connectwise Automate is one of the top software update checkers on account of its blend of autodiscovery and patch management. The vendor provides customized quotes for customers, so you need to request a quote from the company directly for pricing information. You can download the free trial from this link here.
ITarian is a patch management tool for Windows that can discover updates for Microsoft, Microsoft Security bulletin, and third-party applications. ITarian automatically discovers connected devices and identifies those that are missing patches. Discovering unpatched divides allows you to take action to eliminate the vulnerability.
- Patch management
- Change Management
Patches can be scheduled so that you can automatically deploy critical updates to run each day. You also have the option to prioritize patches based on severity, type, or vendor to make sure that your most important assets are patched before anything else.
You can also use the program’s change management capabilities to monitor patch policies. Here you can see patches that have been applied, those that are missing, and even failed deployments. You can also generate status and health reports to view more information on your infrastructure and prepare for compliance.
- Supports a freeware version for up to 50 devices, making it a viable option for smaller MSPs
- Remote control functionality works well and agents install quickly
- Uses machine learning to aid technicians in threat detection
- Reporting feature includes a wide variety of technical and SLA metrics for the client
- Price is based on the number of endpoints
- Interface could be reworked to be more intuitive
ITarian is one of the best software update checkers for enterprise users. The platform supports up to 50 endpoints for free. The price depends on the number of endpoints you need to manage. 100 Endpoints costs $75 (£60) per month. You can sign up for the program from this link here.
11. GFI LanGuard
GFI LanGuard is a patch management tool that automatically discovers devices connected to your network. With GFI LanGuard you can discover updates for Windows, macOS, and Linux devices. You can automatically deploy updates to devices. If a patch disrupts your operations then you can use the roll-back feature to revert to an earlier version.
- Identify over 60,000 known issues and vulnerabilities
- Patch rollback
- Generate reports
The platform maintains a list of over 60,000 known issues and vulnerabilities to test your network. There is also extensive support for third-party software with updates available from over 60 providers including Adobe Acrobat, Adobe, Mozilla Firefox, Java Runtime, Apple QuickTime, and more.
When it comes to managing regulatory compliance, you can create and schedule reports through a web-based console to highlight the patch status of your devices. Reports are compliant with a range of regulations including PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, PSN, and CoCo. Export reports in PDF, HTML, XLS, XLSX, RTF, and CSV.
- Multi-platform support for Microsoft, Linux, and Mac
- Includes support for patching other popular third-party applications like Adobe, Java, and Runtime
- Simple, yet effective interface
- Built-in vulnerabilities assessment uses patch information to help gauge risk for security teams
- Would like to see more features for scheduling patches
- Could use more up to date support for newer third party applications
GFI LanGuard is a great patch management solution that’s fully equipped to centrally manage a network full of devices. Pricing starts at $26 (£20) for 10-49 nodes. You can start the 30-day free trial from this link here.
Choosing a Software Updater Tool
If your devices are going to stay in tip-top shape, then they need to be regularly updated. As the world found out during the 2017 Wannacry crisis, outdated OS’s with unpatched vulnerabilities are a liability. Software update checkers are essential tools for making sure that all devices stay updated with the latest protections.
Our top picks for the best software update checkers are Atera RMM Patch Management and NinjaOne for cross-platform patch management capabilities, and SolarWinds Patch Manager for Windows patch management.
Software Updater FAQ
What will upgrading firmware do?
Device providers regularly provide firmware updates to add new features and close of security vulnerabilities. Firmware upgrades also get issued when the provider discovers bugs in its coding for the operating system. As a general rule, you should always install any firmware update immediately.
How do I update my network adapter software?
The network adapter’s controlling software can be accessed through the network management utility of your device’s operating system. For example, in Windows, this is in the Device Manager, which can be located in the system settings. Under the Network adapters node, right-click on the adapter in question and select Update driver from the context menu.
What is patch management policy?
A patch management policy is a working practice that your company has decided upon and it sets rules on when and how to apply firmware and operating system patches. This might be settled by the use of an automated patch manager or it might be a manual workflow.
What are the common errors in patch management?
The biggest patch management problem is overlooking devices that need to be patched. The patching process is usually initiated when the producer of a device creates an update for a driver, firmware, or operating system. If that system has been deprecated, there will no longer be any patches for it. Not all patches are delivered automatically but need to be checked for.