You’ve probably heard about patches. In fact, you’ve probably installed quite a few of them. In case you aren’t familiar, patches are released for existing software to change it in some way, and some IT support companies offer patch management to make sure you always have the latest patches installed and running smoothly.
So, why is patch management something you should think about?
One of the main reasons why vendors release new patches for old software is improving security. The updated software will have addressed security issues and put a stop to any methods that cyber criminals once used to compromise it. Applying those security patches as soon as they appear will dramatically reduce the risk of encountering security problems in the future.
Patches often improve performance as well as security. Even the best software can occasionally suffer from crashes, and it’s natural for newer programs to run a lot faster. If your business network runs faster and crashes less frequently, productivity is obviously going to improve significantly. Even if there aren’t actually any flaws, new features might have been added with a patch to make the program run more intuitively.
Another reasons patches are released is to make sure older pieces of software work with newer platforms. If you play an older computer game, for example, you’ll often need to install a patch that makes it run properly on the latest operating system. If you haven’t installed the latest patches, you’ll probably start to find that you run into problems using certain programs. You may even find that different employees are using different versions of the same software.
Compliance issues are only going to become more important when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into effect next year. When this finally happens, guidelines will be tightened up and fees will be increased. If you fail to properly protect yourself, you’re also failing to properly protect any client or customer data, and that could land you in very hot water.