Although patch management, vulnerability assessment and intrusion detection products gained a high profile in 2003, the evolution and maturation of tried-and-true management tools still garnered much attention. This will likely go on in the coming year, when it seems that management platforms will continue to integrate hardware and software inventory, infrastructure management and software distribution tools.The number of patch management systems available may actually decrease next year as patch management becomes integrated with software distribution systems. We will also probably see more research going in to patch testingwhich would generate a set of possible side effects.
The huge number of security exploits this year led to an unprecedented use of and demand for patching software. It also led to immeasurable frustration for IT managers, as patching a system often seemed to cause more problems than it solved.