MSP Tips

patch management best practices for msps

Patch Management Best Practices for MSPs

In today’s technology landscape, patch management is more important than ever for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). With the constant stream of new vulnerabilities and exploits being discovered, it is crucial for MSPs to have an effective patch management solution in place. Without a proper patch management solution, MSPs are leaving their clients’ systems open to attack.  It may seem like it is fairly easy to install a few patches to a few devices manually, but in reality, it is not, especially when you have multiple clients. Well, to make this task a bit easier MSPs use RMM that constantly monitors what is going on with the endpoints and applications.   While having an RMM solution (even with patch management functionality) is great, it is not enough for proper patch management.   In this article, we want to share 5 best practices to optimize patch management for you and your clients.  Patch Management Tips for Managed Service Providers Inventory. Being able to implement effective patch management starts with knowing exactly what devices you have. You as an MSP should make sure they have a complete overview of endpoints and software inventory on the regular basis (you can’t fix what you don’t know). This will help you know what needs to be patched and when.  Track patch announcements from vendors. On average, companies have 110 applications in use and the majority of them are from other vendors than Microsoft – Adobe, Google, Amazon, etc. This means that staying on top of the latest update announcements from vendors plays a crucial role in effective patch management. Make sure to subscribe to security mailing lists and RSS feeds from third-party vendors to help ensure that the updates aren’t overlooked. Test patches before deployment. Applying patches does not always solve a problem: there is a risk that some things can go wrong with updating software. This can occasionally happen, even if the vendor extensively tested a patch before the release. Sometimes, the reason for a patch failure is that you install the patch and forget to reboot the system.  A good way to mitigate this problem and not “break everything”, is to test the patch in a controlled environment before pushing it out to all endpoints.  Regular reporting. Providing your customers with reports with patch management information like frequency, history, patch category, and resolution times on a regular basis will help build trust and long-term relationships with your clients. Automate as much as possible. This is perhaps the most important patch management best practice. Using a good third-party patch management tool can enable you to automate your patch management processes. Automating third-party patching can save your organization time and money. By automating the process, you can ensure that all third-party applications are up to date with the latest security patches. Automate third-party patch management of your customers with the right tool = Scappman For automated third-party patch management that is reliable and user-friendly, look no further Scappman. This 100%-cloud solution ingrates with Microsoft Intune and automatically installs all the necessary application updates for your customers.  Scappman allows you to easily keep third-party applications updated across numerous client endpoints, with features like managing custom applications, automated log collection, customizable installation commands, creating a set of reg keys etc.   For MSPs, Scappman provides a complete third-party patch management solution, that allows you to manage all your customers’ apps from one platform with extra functionality:   Multi-tenancy support  Partner Portal (invoicing, inviting customers, pop-up customization…)    Advanced application management (app sets, users & group assignments…).   Furthermore, there are more than 800 third-party applications in Scappman App Store, that are always up to date and secure to use. You can also upload your own application to the platform and manage it like any other application.    If you’re an MSP looking for a cloud third-party patch management solution, try Scappman at no charge – a 15-day free trial is available! 

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rmm and third-party patching

What is RMM and why is it still not enough for efficient third-party patching? 

As a managed service provider, your main task is to protect and manage the IT systems of various clients. That’s why having a solution that helps you to manage, monitor, support and secure the computer networks and systems of your clients is crucial. By that solution, we mean Remote Monitoring and Management tool (RMM).  Although the RMM solution is vital for your customer’s security, it is not enough on its own. Third-party patching is also essential for efficient security IT system.  Exactly what is RMM? In short, it’s a tool that makes the work of modern MSPs possible. Read along with us to know more about this technology, the benefits & drawbacks of using RMM, and how you can optimize third-party patching.  Definition of RMM: what is remote monitoring & management?  RMM (short for remote monitoring and management) is a type of software that allows IT professionals to monitor and manage their client’s IT systems, such as servers, devices, endpoints, and software from anywhere.   To make RMM work, it requires to install an agent – a lightweight software installed on clients’ endpoints. This agent allows you to:  get real-time insights on the health of the client’s IT environment.   see all the data gathered on the RMM’s dashboard, from which you are able to monitor and control all the processes.  proactively stay ahead of issues.  If the agent detects a problem on one of the managed machines, it creates an alert or “ticket” and delivers it to you, prompting you to take action to resolve a problem before customers even notice it. RMM classifies these tickets based on importance or problem type, helping you prioritize issues.   With the growing trend of remote work, however, it’s also becoming more and more common to see internal IT departments also utilizing RMM tools.  What is RMM used for?  Here are a few core functions of any RMM software:  Automating IT management routine. RMM software lets MSPs automate a range of common IT tasks, such as installing software patches, running scripts, asset tracking, monitoring, alerting and remediation of IT incidents.   Real-time remote monitoring. RMM solutions can monitor the health of the entire IT system 24/7. IT specialists can be alerted when potential issues arise so that they are addressed in a timely manner. RMM software can also provide real-time reports on network activity, asset inventory, compliance, and system performance.  Performing tasks for maintenance and remediation remotely. With RMM, IT specialists can not only monitor the IT system but also deploy software, troubleshoot, and fix problems without interrupting the end user.  RMM tools have advanced and become feature-rich, allowing MSPs to do more than just monitoring. With RMM it is possible to secure endpoints and automate a lot of routine tasks, making their life easier. Benefits of RMM  Under the right conditions and management, RMM software can help IT providers completely transform their operations, making them more efficient, more effective, and more profitable:  No more Break-fix Cycle  Previously, MSPs had to physically go to their client’s offices in order to manage their IT systems and infrastructure. It created what was known as the “break-fix cycle”: when something broke, an MSP would fix it, leave, and then come back again when something else broke. This cycle is costly and can be avoided with the help of cloud solutions and remote monitoring and management (RMM).  RMM allows you to proactively monitor your IT infrastructure and identify potential issues before they cause downtime. This proactive approach can help keep your business running smoothly. And instead of going to their offices physically, RMM allows MSPs to cut down on time spent on the road, giving them time to manage more clients.  Saves time and money  RMM can save businesses time by automating tasks that would otherwise need to be done manually. This can free up you to focus on more important tasks, such as problem solving and user support. RMM can also save businesses money by reducing the need for on-site support. With RMM, IT problems can often be fixed remotely, without the need for IT specialists to come to the office. This can save on travel costs and boost productivity.  Improves Security  An RMM can help identify potential security threats and vulnerabilities early on before they have a chance to do any damage. By constantly monitoring your network and systems, an RMM can quickly spot any suspicious activity and raise an alert. This means that you can take steps to fix the problem before it becomes a serious issue.  RMM and third-party patching  As the use of third-party applications continues to grow, so do the challenges for patching these applications. While most RMMs support third-party patching, the application list is not broad enough to cover the business needs of your customers. This can pose a challenge for you, as an MSP, who is responsible for patching these applications.  One of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the constantly changing versions of these applications. With new versions being released on a regular basis, it can be difficult to ensure that all of the necessary patches are installed. Another challenge is ensuring that the patches are working properly and can’t break anything.   That’s why patching third-party applications is an important part of keeping systems up-to-date and secure.  How to optimize third-party patch management for RMM  Scappman is a 100%-cloud solution that automatically installs all the necessary updates for your applications.  Being fully integrated with Microsoft Intune, Scappman doesn’t require any servers or agents to install and keep your applications up to date.   For MSPs, Scappman provides a complete third-party patch management solution, that allows you to manage all your customers’ apps from one platform:  All customers in one platform.  Partner portal (invoicing, inviting customers, pop-up customization…)   Advanced application management (app sets, users & group assignments…).  Furthermore, there are more than 800 third-party applications in Scappman App Store, that are always up to date and secure to use. You can also upload your own application to the platform and manage

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how scappman manages multi-tenancy

How Scappman manages Multi-tenancy

Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) are always looking for automation in recurring tasks. To change some settings for 1 customer and doing this same action for 1000 other customers is a very time consuming job. The same counts for application patch management. MSP’s want to make sure all of their customers are secured with the latest software patches. If your customers are using Microsoft Endpoint Manager and you would like them to be up-to-date with all applications, you’ll need to monitor new versions, package these versions and wrap them in an Intunewin file. Then you’ll need to upload the packages to all tenants of your customers. Already have done that? Than you probably know that you can start all over again as by the time you got finished, a new update is available. At Scappman we’ve implemented an easy solution to switch between your customers, you’ll be able to see what your customers can see (If you allowed them to access the portal). No need to sign out or sign in into multiple tenants. We have a reseller – customer relation defined so you can have a good overview about your customers patch status.

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top 5 msp tools for microsoft intune

Top 5 MSP tools for Microsoft Intune

At SCAPPMAN, we just wanted to show you the top 5 tools that can be helpful for you as an IT service provider. Microsoft Endpoint Manager is one of those fantastic products by Microsoft that has been around for almost 11 years. The cool thing is that excellent apps are being built that upgrade MEM to MEM 2.0. The top 5 tools for Microsoft Intune are Lansweeper, Micke, Remote Support tool, Admin by request and Scappman of course. Lansweeper: IT Asset Management Software It wants to know your IT environment and what assets are on your corporate network. It does this in 3 steps.  Step 1: Discovery The Lansweeper Deepscan discovery engine will find any asset on your corporate network without needing you to install any software on them. It has no limit to the effects it can have on the environment or resources. Step 2: Inventory Lansweeper offers a complete and insightful overview of the hardware, software, and users that enables a straightforward exploration of your network. Launder all network tasks, projects, and decisions by managing one source of truth.  Step 3: Analytics Be on top of things at all times with your IT. Be able to answer any questions, thanks to your over 400 built-in network reports and the ability to create or modify these reports, so they suit your needs. A tool that helps MSPs mitigates risk and enables you to control your IT assets. We think one of the most astonishing combinations together with SCAPPMAN. Micke: IntuneManagement with PowerShell and WPF UI PowerShell scripts use this Microsoft Authentication Library (MSAL), Microsoft Graph APIs, and Azure Management APIs to manage objects within Intune and Azure. The scripts have a simple WPF UI, and they are used for operations such as Export, Import, Copy, Download, Compare, and more. You can find the Github info here: Admin by request: to be or not to be an admin Administrator rights, I think we never entered a company where this wasn’t an issue. The issue is: that you must allow users to maintain local admin rights or manual labor called unlimited remote installs.  Admin by request can quickly deal with this for you without requiring much time and effort and allow you to use your IT resources this way freely. Again, it’s best to mitigate risk if your security principles say that you should grant your users the least amount of privileges required to carry out the task. This security rule is why local administrator rights were given, but eventually, users will request elevated rights. That’s why PAM (Privileged Access Management) system was created like Admin by Request.  Remote Support Tool or Remote Help with Intune and Microsoft Endpoint Manager Finally, it’s here in public preview, the tool remote help. The tool’s title is self-explanatory, connecting your users’ devices with support staff. You, as an MSP, can make configurations directly and take actions on the users’ devices. Yes, and it’s possible to take complete control of the device when the user permits it.  Scappman: it’s all about multitenancy and saving your time In addition to all the tools above, we don’t want to leave out our tool. We think we’re the best solution if you are an MSP with multiple customers and need a multi-tenancy automated patching software solution.  We think that automated updates in Intune will help your life as an MSP significantly better. You can use it for yourself, but you can also resell it. It’s up to you. You can find all the info about our MSP program here. 

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top 5 challenges for managed service providers in 2022

Top 5 Challenges for Managed Service Providers in 2022

It has never been a better time for IT-managed service providers than now. With the increasing adoption of cloud-based services and the need to protect organizations from cyber threats, more and more companies are turning to outsourcing IT tasks and working with MSPs. When working with a new partner, companies are likely to go through many challenges. Here are some of the critical challenges MSPs are facing now: 1. Managing security issues According to the Kaseya survey in 2022, dealing with advanced security threats is one of the biggest challenges for MSPs. Indeed, along with the constantly advancing technologies, hackers are not wasting time. Ransomware, DDoS attacks, and other malware have threatened myriad companies and affected even the most prominent businesses, resulting in huge losses. Around 50% of MSPs reported that a significant part of their clients fell victim to a cyberattack within the last 12 months. Thus, it doesn’t matter which industry MSPs are in, and they must stay up to date on the cybersecurity landscape. 2. Cloud migrations Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work and cloud adoption are at their peak. For this reason, many businesses are turning to MSPs for help with cloud migrations. With the rapidly growing number of security vulnerabilities, demand for help with cloud migration is increasing steeply, as the Cloud is seen as an effective way to boost data security and improve collaboration. Now the exploding vulnerabilities of the remote workforce demonstrate that demand for help with cloud migration is increasing steeply, as the Cloud is viewed as an effective way to boost data security and improve collaboration and business resiliency during the pandemic. According to Microsoft, providing cloud migration solutions, being a Cloud MSP is the key to success: “Cloud MSPs differentiate themselves by building a practice around dev-ops, automation, and cloud-native application design. They use the best existing cloud features while designing new solutions in order to meet their customers’ unique business demands”. But selling cloud solutions requires an entirely new approach, so extra training and specialization for sales and marketing teams are required, which can be costly and time-consuming. 3. Finding reliable partners To achieve MSP’s growth goals, they must find reliable partners to help them with the resources, solutions, and tools. These solutions could apply to network management, endpoint management, invoicing, customer support, marketing, etc. Scappman has a Partnership program for resellers and MSPs that brings application management to a NEW level. Read more about Scappman Partnership Program here. 4. Automation tools To stand out as an MSP, you should automate as many processes as possible. Automation makes life easier for MSPs, increasing their productivity and reducing operating costs to focus on other important things like customer support. Using automation tools allows MSPs to: • Reduce the time IT consultants spend handling routine, repetitive tasks • Free up techs for revenue-generating activities • Reduce the costs for service delivery Thus, choosing the right automation solution is vital for MSPs businesses, as it can directly impact the company’s results. Scappman is a 100%-cloud solution that automatically installs all the necessary updates for your clients’ applications. You don’t have to worry about client updates; Scappman will take care of them so that you can focus on other things. For MSPs, we created unique functionality like multi-tenancy and white labelling. 5. Customer retention In an increasingly competitive managed services market, retaining clients is just as important as finding new ones. It is getting more complex every day as new MSPs emerge and challenge existing MSPs with lower prices for the same service bundles. What is the tip in this case? Provide additional value to your customers: address their concerns and establish trust through transparent, constant communication.

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6 patch management best practices banner

6 Patch Management best practices

Protecting your company’s IT infrastructure against cybersecurity threats is the number one priority. And patch management is an essential element in the cybersecurity strategy. We know that implementing patches for software including third-party applications can be tedious. Indeed, due to time and budget limitations, most IT departments don’t pay much attention to patch management. Knowing that 57% of data breaches could have been prevented by being patched on time​, patch management is more critical than ever. With patch management, you ensure that your applications stay up to date and secure to use. So, implementing software patches as they’re released is the best way to keep your company’s software safe from hackers. In this blog, we’ll share 6 patch management best practices. Create a patch management policy Implementing patch management policies helps establish routines, procedures, and timeframes for effective patching. The process of creating the policy can be time-consuming but necessary. In the patch policy, you create, you should include all kinds of updates (critical and non-critical), as well as regular system maintenance. Inventory list of your software A list of all software, operating systems and devices the company uses is a vital piece of your patch management process. If you have a clear overview of all your endpoints and software installed, you know what you have to protect. While Windows can automatically update itself, third-party apps like 7-zip, Adobe and Chrome might not have this ability. This creates multiple attack vectors into your endpoints. Categorize risks Avoid applying patches in a chaotic way. Categorize the detected vulnerabilities according to the risk level and prioritize the deployment of important patches instead. Applying patches to low-level threats first wastes time and threatens your system security. Prioritizing CVEs helps define which systems and applications require immediate patch deployment and which can wait. Pro Tip: Microsoft Threat and Vulnerability Management (TVM) helps organizations with identifying, assessing, and even remediating new vulnerabilities. The add-on tool to Microsoft 365 Defender provides users with insights on all applications (that are supported by Microsoft) installed across all the endpoints in the company, including the application name, OS, vendor, number of associated weaknesses, threats, number of exposed devices and impact. All the detected vulnerabilities are categorized based on the CVSS score. Read more about Microsoft TVM: Detecting vulnerable applications with Microsoft Threat and Vulnerability Management Microsoft releases a New Defender Vulnerability Management tool Monitor patch updates With so many applications installed (and so little time), tracking all software updates is critical. In the case of Microsoft products, it’s easy – on Patch Tuesday the second Tuesday of each month, Microsoft releases large patches for Windows OS, Microsoft Office and other Microsoft software. But for third-party apps – not so much. Some software vendors publish updates and send email notifications to administrators. Pro Tip: Scanning through hundreds or thousands of software patches can be inefficient and time-consuming. Use solutions for automated application patching to save your time. Test patches before deployment Before deploying a patch, it’s important to test it in a testing environment. This allows you to verify that the patch does what it is supposed to do and doesn’t break anything else. It also gives you time to fix any problems that may arise before the patch goes live. Automation Let’s be honest, it’s not possible to do patch management manually. On average, organizations use around 100 applications, and you must monitor and patch all of them. But you have other stuff to do. The solution is pretty – automate everything that can be automated. Automating the patching process reduces the workload for IT admins thus promoting efficiency, productivity, and security of the organization. That’s why Scappman should be a part of your patch management policy. Automatically updating all your applications, you save plenty of time that you can spend on other important tasks. You don’t need to track all the updates available, prioritize and test them. Scappman will do this job for you. To know more about how you can automate third patching, start a free trial or book a call with us.

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the true cost of patch management banner

The True Cost of Patch Management

The connection between return on investment (ROI) and patch management may not be obvious. After all, patch management does not generate revenue for the company. Nevertheless, while this may be true, preventing losses certainly affects the company’s financial results. In other words, patch management helps you save money by reducing IT expenditures in long run. So, how much does patching your software save your company? It depends on a lot of factors: the number of applications you manage, the time required to patch, and how much stuff is involved in patch management, how often patches are released. Every unpatched application can profoundly cost the company- the average cost of a cyber attack is $1.1 million. In this post, we share the main factors, that affect patch management costs, and why you need automated patching solutions. What is patch management? Patch management is the process of managing patches or updates to software and firmware. It’s important because it keeps the software up-to-date and secure, closing known vulnerabilities. Patch management also minimizes disruptions to users by deploying patches in a timely manner. The goal of patch management is to keep systems operational and secure with minimal impact on the user. Patch management is an important part of IT security and should be included in any organization’s overall security strategy. By keeping software up-to-date, organizations can reduce their risk of being attacked by cybercriminals. Why do you need patch management? According to a study conducted by Ponemon Institute for ServiceNow: 60% of cyberattacks are caused because applications are not up to date 62% of the companies were unaware that they were vulnerable prior to the data breach 52% of respondents said their organizations are at a disadvantage in responding to vulnerabilities because they use manual processes. Despite that most IT departments still don’t pay much attention to patch management because they find patching complex and time-consuming. Indeed, patching is an infinite process: IT departments must continually identify and assess vulnerabilities, monitor and test patches, and deploy the patches to their systems. Factors you should consider when calculating patch management costs There is no universal answer to how much patch management costs. However, there are some factors that should be taken into consideration when making calculations: human resources cost (HR), frequency of patching (PF), time (T), scope (S). Mathematically, the formula for patch management costs calculation can be expressed as: Total costs = f (T, HR, S, PF). This model is way far from precise but it can be a starting point for identifying the patch management costs. Time (T) IT departments spend a lot of time on patch management. According to the Ivanty survey results, IT & security professionals spend 53% of their working time each month detecting and prioritizing vulnerabilities and 19% testing patches. Human resources (HR) Hiring certified cybersecurity experts and IT managers is essential in today’s business environment because such professionals manage IT infrastructure in an efficient way, protecting organizations from new security threats. However, as the number of cyberattacks has exponentiated, so has the demand for certified cybersecurity experts, which are few. The recruiting costs are tremendously high. Scope On average, a company uses around 110 applications. It means, that IT specialists must monitor 110 applications for the updates and patch them. Patch frequency Many people think that application updates are released according to some sort of schedule, like Patch Tuesday for Microsoft software. However, it’s not like that in most cases – there is no system. And let’s consider this: for example, Chrome releases a full OS update about every 4 weeks. Minor updates, such as security fixes and software updates, happen every 2–3 weeks. Only for patching Google Chrome, an IT specialist must go through the patch cycle 2-3 times a month. Cybersecurity costs Patch management is a process used to maintain system security by updating software and firmware on the devices. Patch management can be time-consuming, as patches must be evaluated for applicability and installed on systems. Additionally, patch management can result in an increase in system downtime. There are several true costs of patch management: threat response costs, system restoration costs, and downtime costs. Treat response costs Companies frequently choose a patch management strategy as a proactive means of preventing cyberattacks. Your IT department play catch-up with newly detected vulnerabilities: they spend most of their time (which costs a lot as we explained earlier) on detecting new patches, testing them to ensure they don’t break anything, pushing updates to the users etc. Restoration costs These are costs associated with reverting the system to the previous state to recover from the damage and other problems caused by unpatched security bugs. Downtime costs Downtime costs are often the most significant factor, and they can vary significantly depending on the organization’s size, industry, and other factors. A study by IDC found that the average cost of an hour of downtime for a company in the United States is $5,600. For a company with 1,000 employees, that would amount to more than $5 million per year. The cost of downtime can be even higher for industries such as healthcare or financial services. Why do you need automated patching? As we mentioned earlier, there is no exact time and date when vendors release patches, and it’s not possible to track all these updates manually. But leaving your systems unpatched can comprise your company. The only solution here is automated patching tools. Automated patching works by automatically scanning installed applications for new updates available. Updates and patches can then be set for automatic deployment, based on rules you establish. So, what does the best automated third-party patch management solution look like? Meet Scappman! Automated third-party patch management with Scappman Scappman is a 100%-cloud solution that automatically installs all the necessary updates for your applications. Scappman automates the whole process of uploading the application and updating it in Microsoft Intune environment. There are more than 500 third-party applications in Scappman App Store, that are always up to date and secure to

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How to choose Patch Managment Software

How to choose Patch Management software

Patch management plays an extremely important role in the security of any company. Poor patch management can leave a company vulnerable to breaches and cyber-attacks. There are many different patch management solutions on the market, and it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your organization. In this article, we will discuss some of the factors you should consider when choosing a patch management solution. Intuitive dashboard Patch management software should have an intuitive dashboard which provides a clear overview of what is going on with your application updates. This will make it easier for you to keep track of the installation status of deployed applications, and licenses, and deploy them quickly and efficiently. Auditing & Reporting Patch management solutions should have a good auditing system to be able to detect the source and history of the problem and prevent the problem from growing out of control. While auditing provides the historical records of the actions, reporting provides an immediate overview of patch deployment status. These insights help IT admins make informed decisions for the IT system of the company. Easy to use All patch management solutions should be easy to set up and easy to use, even for those who are not tech-savvy. Too often, software that is intended to be easy to use ends up being difficult, which can lead to frustration on the part of administrators. With the intuitive interface, the new IT staff will have a much easier time exploring software without losing precious time. Intuitive and easy to use patch management solutions can also increase productivity by reducing labour hours. Advanced features for customization For the best user and end-user experience, the best patch management solutions must be highly configurable, so the IT admin can set up updates as needed. For example, you may configure a system to postpone or reschedule patch installation based on your business activities. Third-party application patching According to the Forrester Security & Risk research 2021, the majority of security vulnerabilities and attacks now come through third-party applications. Therefore, it is best to adopt an application management solution that will take care of application updates, protecting your company from breaches. With more applications in use at companies, it is more of a challenge to ensure that they are always up to date. Applications such as browsers (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox) and Adobe products are major concerns. With so many different types of applications being used in organizations, this challenge can quickly spiral out of control. Cloud vs. on-premises As more and more companies move to the cloud, combined with an increasing number of BYOD, a patch management solution must be capable of handling endpoints and applications wherever they are. An automated patch management solution saves time and money The best patch management solution should be fully automated to free IT admins from manual patching so they can focus on other activities. If you’re looking for an affordable third-party patching solution that offers everything we mentioned, try Scappman. Scappman offers all these features to help keep your third-party applications always up to date and secure. Read more about Scappman here: A New Way of Third-Party Patch Management for Microsoft Intune How to manage private applications in Microsoft Intune?

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