Gartner Information Technology Research

Guidance Framework for Risk-Based Patch Management and Automation

Published: 26 February 2020

ID: G00451113

Analyst(s): Gregory Murray

Summary

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

Gartner Recommended Reading

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.