Instant patch info minimizes exposure

PatchLink recently announced its patch detection and deployment software, PatchLink Update 3.0. Security information compiled in a PatchLink database is sent to subscribers daily, and they have the choice of when the patches are deployed.

In the wake of Code Red and NIMDA, businesses are looking for ways to seriously beef up security measures. So, PatchLink Corporation's Sept. 24 announcement of its patch detection and deployment software, PatchLink Update 3.0, may not have come at a better time.

PatchLink Update provides a management framework to patch and fix security vulnerabilities on all the computers on a network, said Chris Andrew, vice president of product management at Scottsdale, AZ-based PatchLink.

The software is implemented on a Windows Web server that must also have Internet Information Server (IIS) installed. That server acts as the central point of control for administrators. It details company-wide hardware and server inventory.

The security vulnerability information comes each day automatically from PatchLink to the Windows server via a PatchLink database. Once the viral and worm-related information is received, administrators can see at a glance which computers or servers on their network need patches. "The administrator then has the choice of when he wants to roll out the patch," said Andrew.

Employees at PatchLink consistently monitor Microsoft security bulletins and the SANS Institute, among others, to compile the database of security vulnerabilities, said PatchLink CEO Sean Moshir.

Mobile workers can reap the benefits of Update, too, said Andrew. As long as they can connect to a specified URL, those machines will be patched when necessary, too. Even if remote workers reconnect to the network after having installed new software that requires a patch, Update will alert the administrator of the needed patch automatically.

Also included in Update is a patent-pending technology called Fingerprinting, which according to Moshir, "detects accurately whether or not a machine has an exact patch." It goes through every file on a computer determining if a patch is already there. Often, he said, existing patches are incomplete or only half of what they should be. Fingerprinting technology helps weed those out.

PatchLink Update 3.0 server software starts at $995 and is $12 per single user license.

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