What is Software Patch Management?

Patch management as a process applies a plan and strategy of what patches should be applied to which systems at a specified time.

A patch refers to a set of changes made to a computer program or its supporting data designed to fix, update, or improve it. This involves fixing security vulnerabilities and several other bugs, with such patches usually referred to as bugfixes or bug fixes, and enhancing the performance or usability. 

Patches have a specifically important role in fixing security holes in the case of computer server software and operating systems. Patches may need simultaneous or prior updates of several independent software components. In order to assist updates, operating systems frequently provide semi-automatic or automatic updating facilities. Software package management systems are capable of offering different degrees of patch automation.

Security patches are considered to be the primary method of fixing security vulnerabilities in software. These patches are closely tied to responsible disclosure and play a major role in guaranteeing that the business process does not get affected.

Besides security patches, there are also unofficial patches and hot patching varieties. An unofficial patch is regarded as a non-commercial patch ideal for commercial software developed by a third party instead of the original developer. This unofficial patch alleviates shortcomings or bugs. Examples include security fixes executed by security specialists when an official patch by the software producers itself takes very long.

Hot patching, also referred to as dynamic software updating or live patching, refers to the application of patches without restarting and shutting down the system or the program that is involved. This type of software patch management can address issues related to unavailability of service provided by the program or the system. A patch that can be applied in this manner is called a hot patch.

patch management
  • Released: 08/03/2018
  • Updated: 08/03/2018

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