Symantec last week announced a patch management product that it says will let users more effectively stay on top of software vulnerabilities.Symantec\u00a0last week announced a patch management product that it says will let users more effectively stay on top of software vulnerabilities.Symantec ON iPatch Version 1.1 is Microsoft Windows-based software that can scan a computer network for Windows machines, determine which software patches those machines have installed and automatically download and install missing patches on machines that need them, the company says.Symantec acquired the iPatch technology when\u00a0it bought ON Technology for\u00a0$100 million in October 2003. The patching tool was previously sold only with the Symantec ON iCommand configuration management product.The company decided to break out the patching component so it could target companies with fewer than 2,000 employees that might not be interested in the full iCommand suite, says Thom Bailey, director of product management in Symantec's enterprise administration business unit."These are companies that don't have the staff, the time or the large infrastructure in place to couple patch management with other technology," Bailey says.ON iPatch is a software-only product that can run on Windows 2000, XP or Server 2003 machines. The product can analyze the software patch status of Windows machines but not those using other operating systems. Links in the product connect customers to Microsoft's patch-distribution Web site, from which the patch can be downloaded and installed."We wanted to really focus on Microsoft because that's where the majority of pain is in patch management in smaller shops," he says.Support for other operating systems is possible in future iPatch releases, as are features that would let companies test patches before deployment and link iPatch to Symantec's Drive Image disk back-up product, he says.ON iPatch uses a scanning engine developed by a patch management technology company Shavlik Technologies to determine the patch status of machines it scans.The patch management product pricing starts at $23.80 per seat for 10 to 24 seats. A license that covers up to 1,000 seats costs about $19 per seat, Bailey says.Roberts is a correspondent with the IDG News Service.