Timely patching of the Windows operating system environment is increasingly important for resellers monitoring the operating environments of customers, according to market analysts at IDC. The claim comes after Microsoft released the highest number of critical updates in the eight-year history of its monthly patch cycle.
IDC market analyst for servers and workstations, Chris Ward, said the patching of Windows-based operating systems could prove problematic in businesses that lacked network know-how.
"When you put in these patches, it's a systems administrator's responsibility to test them across the back-end servers and desktops," Ward said. "Whenever you make a change to the base operating system, it can easily create a reaction somewhere else and it's very hard for the average IT user to trace it back."
Ward said resellers could be of particular use to businesses that weren't technologically sophisticated, especially in situations where an organisation was unable to determine which patch caused a problem or where it would need to roll back to avoid problems. Such a service could lead to an ongoing server and desktop management role.
Dimension Data security practice manager, Paul Sproule, said patch management was an important, albeit small, component of overall system security for its customers.
"If all you are doing is building a system out of the box and just applying patches it won't be secure," he said. "We combine a couple of additional solutions, such as adding a host-based intrusion prevention system so even if you can't apply patches immediately, you're still protected." Trend Micro premium services manager, Adam Biviano, said patching was an essential service as malicious users were still finding numerous ways into the operating system to install rogue software.