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SCCM Patch Management Overview

by Stephanie Dunn
December 1, 2016

Many organizations deploy patch management solutions that can be complex and difficult to manage effectively. Although, these solutions provide the ability to manage clients, deploy software applications, and perform routine patching, additional problems and increase risks can arise for the organization if left unmanaged. This report provides a high-level overview of vulnerabilities reported by Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM), which can aid in determining whether vulnerabilities are being patched effectively.

SCCM provides organizations with the ability to deploy operating systems, manage client health, push software patches, and the ability to quickly rebuild systems. Although SCCM can provide an effective patch management solution, organizations must have a strategy in place to assess existing risks, while patching systems in a timely manner. Organizations must also address stand-alone systems or hosts isolated from the main network that may not be a part of an enterprise-wide patch management solution. These systems not managed with SCCM can be easily overlooked by administrators, as scanning and patching these systems manually can leave potentially critical systems and data vulnerable to attack. By continuously testing, monitoring, and rescanning all systems to ensure patches have been applied correctly, organizations can more effectively manage and secure Windows-based systems.

This report provides a comprehensive look at Microsoft vulnerabilities detected by SCCM, as well as other patch management solutions and stand-alone systems. Elements within this report provide an effective comparison between the effectiveness of the existing SCCM patch management system. Analysts can use this information to focus efforts on identifying both current and previously mitigated vulnerabilities. Using the results from active Tenable Nessus scans, analysts can easily compare vulnerability results against those reported by SCCM. This comparison of information is useful in detecting hosts reporting potentially outdated or inaccurate data.

Vulnerabilities detected by Nessus can be used to detect stand-alone systems not managed by SCCM, and aid in comparing the efficacy of patch management efforts. Events reported by SCCM can alert analysts to package deployments and service-related issues that should be reviewed further. Information on SCCM client systems will provide analysts valuable information on hosts that may not be reporting properly, or that are not managed by SCCM. Organizations can use this report to proactively address and strengthen overall network security and patch management efforts across the network.

This report is available in the SecurityCenter Feed, a comprehensive collection of dashboards, reports, Assurance Report Cards, and assets. The report can be easily located in the SecurityCenter Feed under the category Discovery & Detection. The report requirements are:

  • SecurityCenter 5.4.0
  • Nessus 6.9.0
  • LCE 4.8.1

Tenable Network Security transforms security technology for the business needs of tomorrow through comprehensive solutions that provide continuous visibility and critical context, enabling decisive actions to protect the organization. Tenable SecurityCenter is continuously updated with information about advanced threats and zero-day vulnerabilities, and new types of regulatory compliance configuration audit files. Active scanning examines running systems and services, detects vulnerable software applications, and analyzes configuration settings. Passive listening collects data to continuously monitor traffic, collect information about user privilege changes, and administrative activity, along with the discovery of additional vulnerabilities. Host data and data from other security products is analyzed to monitor patch management solutions on the network. Monitoring the network to ensure that all systems are secured against vulnerabilities is essential to ongoing security efforts. Tenable enables powerful, yet non-disruptive, continuous monitoring that will enable organizations with the information needed to proactively respond to threats within the enterprise.

The following chapters are included in this report:

  • Executive Summary: The Executive Summary chapter provides a comprehensive summary of vulnerabilities detected by SCCM. The Elements in this chapter provide trend data on current and previously mitigated vulnerabilities, which helps analysts monitor how systems are being patched effectively. Analysts can obtain valuable information on the most vulnerable hosts, which assists with prioritizing patch mitigation efforts. Each element within this chapter helps organizations gain a better understanding on existing risks, and determine the effectiveness of SCCM systems on the network.
  • SCCM Vulnerability Summary: The SCCM Vulnerability Summary chapter presents a comprehensive view of outstanding vulnerabilities reported by WSUS. Elements included within this chapter are filtered by Critical, High, and Medium severity levels, and present a list of Microsoft Bulletins vulnerabilities reported by patch management systems. Results from each element may include results from multiple patch management systems supported by Tenable. Each table provides targeted information that analysts can use to prioritize remediation efforts and identify the most critical vulnerabilities first.
  • SCCM Client Summary: The SCCM Client Summary chapter presents a comprehensive look at managed SCCM clients across the organization. Information on changes within each subnet can alert analysts to new clients, connection issues on existing clients, or clients that have fallen out of scope. Information presented within this chapter can be useful in identifying hosts within SCCM clients installed, or clients not reporting properly. Additionally, this data to can be used to correlate potential patching issues, or alert security teams to configuration issues within security policies that need to be addressed.
  • SCCM Event Summary: This chapter includes an overview of SCCM events detected on the network. Information included within this chapter can be useful in correlating potential patch management issues that need to be addressed by the analyst. Elements within this chapter can be modified to include specific SCCM event information per organizational requirements.