Simply put, patches are what allow your IT systems to operate smoothly despite the constant threat of breach. They’re small pieces of code written to combat specific vulnerabilities or flaws that have been exposed by hackers picking away at your software. Think of your computer system like a submarine; the water outside, like today’s sea of cyber threats, applies constant pressure. It wants to get in. Patches allow you to reinforce the spots in your hull that have proven to be weak.
It’s a concept we all should be pretty familiar with – patches are often bundled together as updates, sent to our devices and installed automatically by the manufacturer. Patching
company-wide systems, however, is more complicated than just tapping “Accept.” According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, there are best practices and other steps that should be taken to mitigate risks, and many experts also recommend scheduling update and patch installations monthly to ensure your systems are up-to-date. And for those without reliable IT support on staff, it’s also important to have an expert handy in case an operating conflict arises between the patch and your other software.
Patches, as a concept, are simple to understand. Implementing them, however, can be far from easy. As with every facet of your IT environment, you need a strategy in place, complete with policies and roles. Knowing which patches you need, how to install them, and when best to do
it can help keep your company’s cyber security – and reputation — air-tight.