Gartner Information Technology Research

Guidance Framework for Risk-Based Patch Management and Automation

Published: 26 February 2020

ID: G00451113

Analyst(s): Gregory Murray


Despite advances, patching is core to IT operations. Mature patch management enables automation and coordination across change and vulnerability management. This framework provides I&O technical professionals a structured approach to maturing and modernizing patch management.

Table Of Contents

Problem Statement

The Gartner Approach

The Guidance Framework

  • Prework
    • Define Scope and Prioritization Framework
    • Define Roles and Responsibilities
    • Identify Assets and Associated Tools
    • Establish Patching SLAs and Targets
    • Use the Right Tools to Automate Patch Deployment
    • Leverage CI/CD to Automate Patching of Immutable Systems
    • Build Patch Repositories
  • Step 1 — Assess
    • Capture Patch Releases
    • Prioritize the Patch Backlog
  • Step 2 — Plan
    • Develop a Test Plan
    • Develop a Deployment Plan
    • Build a Patch Plan Using Patch Capacity
  • Step 3 — Test
    • Execute the Test Plan
  • Step 4 — Deploy
    • Identify Target Systems
    • Prepare Systems for Patching
    • Deploy Patches
  • Step 5 — Report
    • Establish Reports Around SLAs and KPIs
    • Report on Opportunities to Improve Patch Management

Risks and Pitfalls

  • Failure to Set Realistic Scope and Coverage
  • Failing to Invest Sufficient Resources
  • Scoping Patch Coverage to Automation
  • Related Guidance

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