Patching is critical to MSP security. However, getting your users to embrace them is a challenge. Patches are annoying— they wreck the flow of a workday and they also cut into productivity. To help your users embrace installing computer patches, there are some things you can do to make the experience more pleasant.
The Cost of Delayed Patching
You know the importance of timely patch installs. While computers are unpatched, they pose a security risk to the entire network. Your clients don’t understand the urgency that sometimes comes with implementing patches.
Instead, the customer just sees a delay. They see a potential to have their most important applications stop working because of a system change. The focus is not on the purpose of the patch, but rather the cost of implementing it.
The Importance of Communication
One of the first steps to help your clients with patching is communication. You need to teach them why a patch is so important. Communicate out what the patch is fixing helps inform your clients of the importance of the patch.
With the right information, clients are aware of the risks involved with delaying patches. When your clients have an idea of the MSP security risks associated with delayed patching, they are going to be much less headstrong to put it off.
When communicating upcoming patches, you need to include other critical information. The first is timing; when can your clients expect to have the patch rolled out. It is important they have some lead time to arrange schedules. This avoids unexpected notifications and unexpected shut downs.
You should also let your clients know if there are any known issues related to the patch. Especially with emergency patching, your team might not have time to iron out all aspects of the patch. Unexpected issues make for unhappy customers. However, known issues are generally handled with a better temperament. It also reduces the number of help desk calls your office receives.
There are times where your clients are most likely to install patches. Use this to your advantage. Continual pop-ups throughout a busy day are a distraction. Keep your users happier by rolling out at the right times. The right time will vary between offices and departments, so take some time to figure out a rollout plan that works best for your clients.
It is important that you know how your clients responded to a patch. This data is useful to provide incentives for prompt patching implementation. For more difficult clients, it is also a tool to demonstrate troubles with their IT policy enforcement. In either case, arming yourself with data makes talking to clients easier and more effective.
Use Background Patching Correctly
Your patching system works best when it doesn’t require user intervention. For the most part, it should be a background process. Unfortunately, some parts of installing patches do need some user input. This is primarily seen when patches require rebooting.
The trouble with rebooting is that it is often necessary but an inconvenience to your customers. It takes time and interrupts their workflow. To help ease the reboot, you can take several steps. The most common is to schedule reboots for after-hours. You may also want to include reboot delays if possible. These are easier for your clients to fit into their day and cause the least amount of disruption.
With the right steps, you help create a secure environment for your clients. With the right communication and roll out, patching is not the chore most people think. Build a commitment with your clients to proper MSP security and your company will continue to support your clients in the best way possible.