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February 2002

Simplify enterprise patch management with the proper tools

It's hard enough to track security configuration changes on one box, much less a local server farm of identical boxes. Managing configuration changes and uploading hotfixes in a distributed environment -- well, it's enough to drive you to distraction. Despair not: You can choose from several free and commercial tools to help with this important task. Configuration and patch management tools range from simple Windows scripts to modified policy management and vulnerability scanning tools to fully featured centralized management suites. "These products take what the vulnerability assessment vendors have already done and spin it to the preventive configuration side," says Pete Lindstrom, director of security strategies at analyst firm Hurwitz Group. "They're pushing vulnerability management into a more active role." Microsoft, the source of dozens of OS and application patches each year, recently released two tools for patch management. The first is HFNetChk, a free command-line tool that uses an XML database to check for patches ...

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