Software patches are essential to protecting against cyber threats. Your computer probably has software installed on it. Some computers have dozens of software applications. Others have even more software installations on them. Turning a blind eye to software patches, however, may result in vulnerabilities that leave you and your business susceptible to cyber threats.

The Basics of Software Patches

Software patches are updates released by developers. They are designed to fix vulnerabilities, bugs or issues. Most developers will continue to support their software products after initially releasing them. Software patches are a part of this support. After releasing a software product, developers will continue to evaluate it. They may then release a patch consisting of a new, updated version of the software product.

The 3 Types of Software Patches

Most software patches fall under one of three categories: security, bug fix and feature. Security patches are designed to fix vulnerabilities. Software products may contain weaknesses that, when exploited, open the doors to cyber threats. Also known as vulnerabilities, they are fixed with software patches. Developers can patch a software product to fix vulnerabilities and im[prove the product’s overall security.

Bug fix patches, as the name suggests, are designed to fix bugs. Bugs aren’t necessarily a security threat, but they can still affect the performance and usability of a software product. Therefore, developers address them with software patches. After identifying a bug, developers may release a software patch to fix it.

Feature patches are designed to add new features or enhance existing features. Developers regularly change features in their software products. To do this, they must release a software patch. Feature patches such as this open the doors to new functionality that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

Why Software Patches Are Important

Software patches are important for several reasons. Security patches, for instance, protect against cyber threats. It only takes a single vulnerability in a single software product to cause a cyber attack. If you regularly download and install new software patches, you’ll be better protected against such threats.

Another reason software patches are important is compliance. Many businesses are required to keep their software products up to date. It’s a compliance requirement that, if ignored, can place them at risk for fines or other actions.

Installing new software patches will allow you to take advantage of the latest features. There are feature patches that, as previously mentioned, focus on features. You’ll need to download and install them to update the software products with the latest features.