<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=352585001801011&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Randi Schaeffer

By: Randi Schaeffer on May 23, 2024

Print/Save as PDF

Patch Management: Why Software Patches Are Important For Your Business

Cybersecurity | Managed Services | Compliance | IT Support | Efficiency

When business leaders think about technology, it is often “out of sight, out of mind.” As long as their technology environment is operating smoothly, they usually don’t give much thought to their IT infrastructure.

Businesses depend heavily on technology, particularly the software they need to run their business. But just like a car needs maintenance, software also requires frequent updates to keep it running smoothly and more importantly, securely.

This article explores the role of proactive IT care in keeping business technology infrastructures like yours secure, available, and efficient. Specifically, we’ll explore why it’s important to have a patch management process in place to keep software updated and to keep your IT systems secure from vulnerabilities.

We post articles like these to provide the information business leaders like you need to understand technology options so you can make the best IT decisions for your organization.

Rather than promote our services, we focus on publishing informative, easy-to-understand articles that help you ultimately decide what the best technology solutions are to achieve your business goals.

What is Software Patching And What Does It Protect Against?

When a vendor sends a patch for your operating system or software, they are addressing a specific, known security vulnerability or weakness. You can think of a software patch like a fix for a leaky roof.

Software vendors and developers are always trying to improve their programs and applications performance by identifying performance issues and addressing security vulnerabilities.

Patching your systems protects you and fills holes or glitches in the software that are a security risk that hackers would otherwise exploit to steal data and cause harm to your IT infrastructure.

Sometimes it takes more than one patch to fix a vulnerability. Vendors may also send a patch with an update specifically focused on product enhancements designed to improve function, add features (feature updates), fix performance issues, improve compatibility (compatibility patches) or otherwise upgrade the product.  

BUT, if you receive a security patch or a software performance update, it can’t help if you don’t install it.

What Are the Different Types of Software Patching?

There are several types of software patches that address specific needs;  we will cover the most common ones in this article.

  • Security Patches

These are the most common and most critical type of patches. They are aimed at addressing security vulnerabilities that could cause a cyber incident in your business.

  • Bug Fixes

If you’ve ever had a program freeze or experienced long loading times for an application, you know how annoying it can be, and how it can affect your overall productivity. Bug fixes are patches that address these glitches and help ensure that your software suns as smooth as possible.

  • Compatibility Patches

With businesses relying more and more on technology, there can be a lot of moving parts with one software talking to another. Compatibility patches help ensure that different software programs work together seamlessly, helping you be more productive and get the maximum possible out of the application.

  • Feature Updates

Sometimes, patches come with a bonus! Feature updates add new functionality to your software, keeping it up-to-date and potentially improving your workflow.

What In My IT Infrastructure Should Be Patched and Updated?

Patching isn't just for desktops and laptops. Your entire IT infrastructure, including servers, routers, and network devices, all require regular security software updates. A comprehensive patch management strategy should cover all your devices to minimize security risks and ensure your IT environment is optimized.

How Often Should Software Patches Be Done?

Ideally, software patches should be done as soon as possible when made available by the vendor. Many software programs offer automatic updates to help you stay on top of the process. However, to give you peace of mind and have a more comprehensive patch management program you may want to consider outsourcing your software patching to a managed IT services provider, if you don’t have a dedicated internal IT resource.

What Happens If I Don't Patch My Software Regularly?

Businesses that don’t regularly install patches and updates are putting the performance and security of their infrastructure at risk. It’s a big gamble! As a result, the effectiveness of your technology could be compromised and your technology backbone could break down, causing expense and downtime. 

Let’s think of it this way: what happens if you buy a new vehicle and you get a recall notice letting you know that the electronics or security system in the vehicle is defective? The dealership offers to fix it for free. Would you not drive to the dealership at your earliest convenience to have the issue fixed?

In the same way that recalls provide upgrades to enhance performance or safety, patches and updates are fixes for weaknesses in technology and security in software, operating systems and other IT products. 

What’s The Bottom Line?

Software patching isn't a glamorous task, but it's important for your peace of mind. After reading this article, you have a full understanding of what software patching is and what types of software patches your business needs to stay on top of.

You now know that patch management goes beyond installing cybersecurity protection updates for your business. It’s about keeping your entire IT environment in tip-top shape. 

You’ve learned that a well patched IT environment provides a secure operating platform that is optimized with very few compatibility issues, and also helps your business meet certain regulatory and industry compliance requirements. You also understand the ramifications of not installing patches and updates. 

Some businesses rely on their internal IT staff to install patches and updates and may assign one or more technical team members with the responsibility.

Other businesses may look to external IT support and managed service providers to ensure that their infrastructure and devices are patched and updated. 

Either approach can provide a strong solution that will meet the needs of your business. 

If you are thinking of exploring external IT support and services, learn the differences between break/fix and managed IT support.  

Related article: What Is A Break/Fix IT Provider? The Pros & Cons

While there are differences between the two approaches, either option can be a viable solution for businesses. 

Related article: Managed IT Support: The Pros & Cons

The most important thing is that you find the right fit for your organization. The best way to do that is by doing your due diligence and interviewing several providers before selecting one. Find out the 10 best questions to ask any IT provider

If you have decided on managed IT support and are looking for a provider, click the button below and one of our advisors will schedule a call to discuss your pain points and explore whether we are a good fit to work together. 

Talk with a Human

Prefer to self-assess? Click on the button below for a free checklist to see if managed IT support services are a good solution for your organization. This checklist will help you:

✔️Evaluate your current IT infrastructure and processes
✔️Identify your current IT gaps versus what your business needs
✔️Ensure that your organization has the technology it needs to be successful

Get Your Managed IT Support Checklist

Still not sure? Find out more what’s included in managed IT support services and how much they cost.

About Randi Schaeffer

Randi is a Systems Engineer at Kelser with nearly 15 years of experience helping organizations gain a competitive advantage with technology.

Suggested Posts

Visit Our Learning Center