Patch Management for macOS Catalina

Written by Zach DeMeyer on January 13, 2020

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The newest iteration of Apple macOS, 10.15 or Catalina, is live. Savvy IT organizations need to stay on top of updates to the OS as they’re released to ensure security. Managing these patches manually as they come in can be tedious, so how can admins automate macOS Catalina patch management?

Why Patch Management?

Before diving into Catalina specifically, let’s talk about patch management in general.

What are Patches?

Patches are alterations to a program’s codebase used to add new functionalities or fix broken ones. Software and operating system developers use patches to address bugs and provide the framework to avoid future code defects. New OS versions and functionality, like Catalina, can also be considered patches.

Unfortunately, though patches often enhance functionalities and promote security, some lead to headaches for IT admins. For example, with the release of Catalina, Apple removed the ability to run 32-bit applications like Adobe® on macOS systems.

Organizations relying on these apps are forced to find alternatives, or avoid updating to Catalina altogether. Additionally, some patches have been known to introduce zero-day vulnerabilities — code flaws developers know about but have not yet patched.

By controlling which patches happen and when, IT admins can exercise tighter control over their environments and ensure optimization of their system fleets’ efficacy and security.

macOS Patch Management

Clearly, managing patches for every software and OS is important, but it’s especially so for macOS. Unlike Windows, which releases patches almost weekly, macOS patches are fewer and further between. Sometimes, Apple doesn’t announce a new patch until after it’s released, making macOS patch management more difficult than others.

So, in order to optimize their macOS patch management, admins not only need to be able to remotely install patches but also schedule installations, scan existing patches, and block new ones if need be. Automating this process is even more of a challenge, unless an organization is armed with the right tools.

macOS Catalina Patch Management from the Cloud

One such tool IT organizations can use to manage their macOS Catalina patches is a cloud directory service. A cloud directory service provides full, cross-platform system management capabilities, allowing admins to remotely control their Windows, macOS, and Linux® fleets.

When it comes to patch management, admins can use a cloud directory service to implement Policies that control how new patches are installed. That includes a configurable deferment time period to push updates remotely when an admin dictates.

Beyond that, organizations can leverage a cloud directory service to gain active insights into which OS version a system is running, among other data points. That way, admins can stay tuned in on the patch status of their macOS Catalina and other systems and manage them accordingly, all from the cloud.

Learn More

If your organization needs to automate patch management for macOS Catalina or any other operating system, learn more about JumpCloud’s cloud directory service by contacting our sales team or signing up for a free account.

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is a Product Marketing Specialist at JumpCloud with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He loves being on the cutting edge of new technology, and when he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.

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