Software Patches and Updates – What’s the difference?
Software Patches and Updates need to be continuously updated because if neglected, these vulnerabilities remain a leading cause of data breaches. Survey data suggests that the majority of people tend to delay updating or patching their systems simply because it would seem to be an inconvenience or considered unimportant. The most worrying conclusion from this is that if not properly completed it could have serious ramifications for your business.
While software patches and updates ultimately serve to achieve the same goal, it is true that all software patches are updates, but not all updates are patches. So what’s the difference?
What is a software Patch?
A software patch or fix is a quick-repair job for a piece of programming designed to resolve functionality issues, improve security and add new features. All types of software throughout its lifetime will run into problems called bugs that need an immediate fix. Now whilst this patch is not necessarily the best fix for the problem, it will give the product developers time to work out a more thorough option for the products next release.
Types of software patches
Software patches generally fall into three distinct categories. A single patch can fall into more than one category, however. These categories include bug fixes, security updates and feature updates.
- Bug fix patches correct problems in the software. These patches help the software run more smoothly and reduce the likelihood of a crash.
- Security patches address known security vulnerabilities, making the software more secure.
- Feature patches add new functionality to the software.
Why are patches important?
Bug fix patches are important because they resolve problems in functionality, and feature updates give the software additional capabilities.
A security patch is particularly important because it addresses known vulnerabilities. When a vendor releases a security update, it alerts the hacker community that a vulnerability exists in that software. At that point, hackers begin actively looking for unpatched copies of the software that they can exploit. The sooner an organization installs the security patch, the more quickly it can protect itself against the associated vulnerability.
What is a software update?
Software updates are a way for software developers to fine-tune a product to make it the best it can be. They offer small, frequent improvements rather than major changes. Unlike a software upgrade, updates need the existing software program you’re using to work.
That’s because software updates address any new-found security issues, fix recently discovered bugs, and add support for drivers and new hardware. They tweak and improve the way the program operates, but they don’t fundamentally alter it.
Simply put, software updates modify, fix and alter your current software program on a regular basis. They’re the software equivalent of keeping your bicycle oiled. It’s still the same bike, it just runs smoother.
Why are updates important?
- Stop Cyber Threats: cyber threats can put potential financial and personal information at risk and updates are an easy method to help mitigate these risks.
- Get the latest features: Everybody wants to stay up to date, especially when it comes to technology and infrastructure. Updates allow your software to have the latest and greatest features, whilst also optimising functionality. Sometimes, a failure to update your software puts you at risk of losing important information.
- Automate everything to stay updated: In this day and age, everybody wants convenience. Most updates now offer the option to automate and schedule updates to when it suits the end user to help maintain productivity whilst minimising the risk involved of not completing the update.
Overall, is absolutely essential to ensure that software patches and updates are kept up to date to improve business optimisation and minimise the risks posed through security breaches.