“I still manually apply patches to our systems. It’s probably not the best thing for me to admit…”. Wait.  What??? I’m going to type that again, because I’m sure you also want to read that again. “I still manually apply patches to our systems. It’s probably not the best thing for me to admit…”

When I heard this recently, my brain came to a screeching halt. With the high risk and costs of privacy violations and data breaches in the healthcare industry, why would anyone want to play this dangerous game? In further conversation with the healthcare IT administrator who made the above claim, his plight soon became clear: His concerns were about control over the order patches were deployed, and the reach of patch deployment he could apply. Reflecting on this conversation, I was thankful for his perspective, because his misperceptions served a good reminder for all – whether in healthcare or anywhere, really. Ensure these three elements of patching are part of your IT security strategy:

Automated: Though we don’t like to admit it, we humans suffer from more bugs than software. (When was the last time you went through a regression test?) The old saying “if I want it done right, I’ll do it myself” doesn’t apply when you’re exposing yourself and your healthcare organization to the risks a security breach could incur. Automated patching not only makes your life easier, but when coupled with good dashboards and reporting, provides visibility that all was applied properly.

Prioritized: From the conversation above, the self-described “manual patcher” confessed one of his biggest concerns was being able to deploy patches in a priority order.  His intent was valid: he wanted to apply high priority security patches first, then apply the remaining in his defined order of urgency. What he hadn’t considered was how easily he could set the prioritization of patches that could be applied automatically.

Comprehensive: The diversity of tech that IT admins are required to manage is increasing, and even faster as more healthcare IoT come online. With operating systems ranging from Linux and UNIX to Mac and Windows, mobile, and thousands of third-party apps, responsibility is shared across IT staff.  Sure, your endpoint or SCCM administrator can cover common endpoint territory, and can also patch third-party apps from within the same console.  Linux admins run parallel to ensure patches take place across the data center.

While much of this sounds obvious, it’s worth the reminder that these three elements are able to be simultaneously achieved. Ivanti’s patch management solutions give you the control and reach you need for secure, comprehensive patch deployment. We also enable the automated application of these patches to fit strategically into your healthcare operations.  See how we do it.  Take a tour of Ivanti Patch Management for Endpoint Manager, and start getting a better prognosis on your patch strategy. 

Protect yourself from the next wannacry