Why Do I Need To Patch & Update Business Software & Operating Systems?
When it comes to technology, it is often “out of sight, out of mind.” In other words, as long as things are operating smoothly, many people don’t give their organization's IT infrastructure much thought.
This article explores the role of proactive care in keeping business technology infrastructures like yours safe, available, and efficient. Specifically, we’ll explore why keeping software and operating systems patched and updated is important.
While its true that we offer comprehensive, proactive care that keeps business infrastructures up and running, that’s not the point of this article.
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 (which are pretty amazing), 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’s The Difference Between Patches & Updates?
Patches and updates are often mentioned in the same breath. While they are similar, there are some differences. In general, updates are sent by vendors to enhance features in their products. So patches are a type of update. Let me explain.
When a vendor sends a patch for your operating system or software, they are addressing a specific, known security vulnerability or weakness. This is an update technically, but patches are typically security-focused. Sometimes it takes more than one patch to fix a vulnerability.
Updates are a broad category that includes product enhancements designed to improve function, add features, fix performance issues or otherwise upgrade the product.
No matter whether you receive a patch or an update, though, it can’t help your infrastructure unless you install it.
Why Don’t Businesses Install Patches & Updates?
Every business is different, but here are a few of the common reasons businesses don’t install patches and updates.
1. Staffing Issues
Many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) either have a very limited IT staff or no technical experts on staff. When relying on limited IT resources, there may be other priorities or it could just be that the technology experts are overwhelmed responding to the everyday IT fires.
2. Performance Concerns
Many businesses use a variety of systems that need to interact. When things are patched and updated, there is a risk that it could affect the compatibility with other business-critical applications.
3. Misplaced Confidence
When it comes to patches, the IT team may feel confident that their monitoring efforts will protect the infrastructure from bad actors. The reality is that threats are always changing, hence the need for the patches in the first place.
4. Everyday Activities
Sometimes the reason businesses don't apply patches and updates is that everyone is simply busy and the task gets lost in the craziness of everyday activity.
What Could Happen If My Business Doesn’t Install Patches & Updates Regularly?
Businesses that don’t regularly install patches and updates are putting the performance and security of their infrastructure at risk. 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 for free upgrades to enhance performance or safety, patches and updates free fixes for weaknesses in technology and security in software, operating systems and other IT products.
How Can I Make Sure My Business Installs Patches & Updates Regularly?
After reading this article, you have a full understanding of the differences between patches and updates. You know that patches are a type of update that typically focuses on security issues. You've learned that updates, (a category that includes patches,) remedy performance-related issues.
We've explored some of the common reasons that businesses might not install patches and updates: staffing issues, performance concerns, misplaced confidence, and everyday activities.
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 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.
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