What are software patches ?

Business Analysts especially IT Business Analysts might be tasked with installing software patches on various applications.

While most Business Analysts tasks involve identifying, analyzing and implementing solutions to business needs, they might also be responsible for supporting the organizational software applications.

Some of the tasks involved in supporting these business applications include supporting the business users, resolving identified issues and applying software patches

Software patches are important due to security vulnerabilities, data protection and feature updates.

What are security vulnerabilities, data protection and feature updates ?

  1. Security patches: cybersecurity is very important to an organization because it is vital that the organizational software solutions remain safe to use. To ensure this, it is important that the applications remain up to date with the latest software patches which can be used to fix any identified security vunerabilities. Software patches are created to fix identified security vulnerabilities to ensure that nefarious characters cannot use them to access sensitive organizational information.
  2. Data protection: every organization generates lots of data and these data might contain sensitive information. Some of these sensitive information might include social security numbers, personal and banking information. If these information are accessed, they can be used to commit crimes such as fraud, identity theft and even ransomware attacks. That is why it is very important to apply software security patches as soon as possible to limit data breaches and exposure risks.
  3. Features updates: Software vendors are constantly improving their software applications and they might offer these improvements via software patches. Implementing these patches can add new features to the software application and improve the existing features that can be used to fulfill identified customer needs, make software improvements and offer additional useful functionalities.

So how do you install a software patch ?

While there are numerous reasons to install a software patch, it has to be done properly to prevent issues.

A software patch implementation might include the following steps:

  1. Create a software release process: To properly implement software release patches, the organization needs to have a defined and approved process for software releases. If the organization does not have a defined process, then the first step is to create the process and get it approved by the right stakeholders.
  2. Automate the software updates: once you have a defined the software release process, the next step is to analyze the software updates and create an automated way of applying the software updates. This would make the implementation seamless and consistent.
  3. Test the software updates before they are installed: it is very important that you test the software updates before they are installed because some software updates can break other software due to their dependabilities. It is also important that you test the software update in a test environment before installing it in the production environment.
  4. Fix system incompatibilities: Even with rigrous testing, you might still encounter issues when the software updates are installed in the production enviroment. If you encounter issues such as system incompatibilities when installing the patches, you would have to fix them. If you cannot fix those issues then you might have to roll back the software patches installation. Fixing the encountered issues might involve rcontacting the software vendors to report the issues and get an updated fix for it. Once the software patches have been fixed and properly tested, then they can be reinstalled.