Lumension has added a plug-in to its Patch Manager Desktop that lets admins using Microsoft System Center automate one of the environment's most onerous tasks - patching third-party Windows applications.
System Center has a built-in patching system for Microsoft applications but many of the most troubling software vulnerabilities exist in applications outside this wagon train, particularly Java and Adobe software. Patching these is carried out using separate tools or a third-party product.
The plug-in automatically downloads, synchronises and verifes third-party patching within System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) without disrupting the workflows already in use.
Beyond the simple aspect of saving time, Lumension claims that carrying out this function with System Center makes it easier to understand the tricky dependencies created by patching and cope with failed patches.
The applications also presents all the necessary patching metadata such as release date, CVE number, security rating and 'patch supercedence', which smoothes prioritisation.
"With this latest release, Lumension provides organisations using System Center with a streamlined, automated process for patching enterprise third party applications, reducing the risk of targeted attacks, and providing increased assurance that all endpoints have been properly patched and are fully compliant," commented the firm's director of product management, Russ Ernst.
The National Vulnerability Database recorded 7,937 software vulnerabilities during 2014, 94 percent of which were in third-party desktop and server applications, he said. By the end of 2015, this could reach 10,000.
Lumension is not, of course, the only provider of third-party patching tools that plug in to System Center with Shavlik, Solarwinds and others already offering this capability.
A reminder of why this capability is now critical was given by the serious Flash zero-day flaw that attackers started exploiting in late January. This was followed up by two more zero days in the same applications interface within days, a sequence that would have stressed anyone with the difficult job of securing desktop systems against these threats. These days, admins need all the help they can get.
Lumension was born in 2007 with the merger of PatchLink (the distant ancestor of its patching technology) and SecureWave.