By Paul Ibarra
May 7, 2018
Keeping your systems up to date is a tedious task, but also one that’s crucial for the integrity of your business. Software companies will release patches to an application which typically provides bug fixes in the current version, solves current security vulnerabilities, and increases the application’s performance. A patch, or software update, can range from minor to major. We’ll discuss a few types of patching including hotfixes, point releases, security patches, and service packs.
A hotfix, also known as a quick fix engineering update, is an update to an application that addresses a specific situation. This update is generally one that cannot wait for to be included in another future update, such as a point release.
A point release is a minor release addresses bugs in the current version of the software. These point release don’t necessarily resolve all bugs, but they typically include several bug fixes and don’t include a significant amount of new features. This type of update is also more frequent than others.
Security patches include fixes to existing vulnerabilities that have been identified. This type of patch is one of the most important as this helps maintain your system’s integrity. Delaying security patching increases the risk that your system will be compromised. The longer a vulnerability has existed increases the more likely that an exploit exists.
A service pack is a major release that usually includes a collection of updates for bug fixes, security patches, or enhancements. These are typically released when there are a number of single updates that have been released that have proven to help the stability of the current version of the software. As these include a collection, they are typically larger and more time consuming than other patches.
Together, the patches mentioned above are key to making sure you’re system is completely up- to-date. Ensure you have a current backup of your system prior to running updates. While patches have been tested before being released, this doesn’t ensure that they’ll always be compatible with third party applications that you currently use.