In this age of the Internet and Cloud, we seem to be constantly bombarded with updates. If you don’t look at your smartphone for one day, you can be prompted to install twenty app updates the next time you use it. For business environments, it’s much the same story. You can easily spend an entire day just dealing with patch management.
But this is not realistic, because one update or patch is not like another. They are not all urgent or need to be updated right away. In fact, some patches can be left for some time.
You can easily prioritize how critical or important a patch or update really is. And that’s exactly what we do. We use options starting at “Needed Yesterday” to “can wait a while” – just like software makers also use in most cases.
If we use this priority scale, hotfix would be classified as “Needed Yesterday.” A hotfix is needed when a serious flaw is found in the software and the software maker has mobilized everything and everyone to fix it. Sometimes they’ll offer a temporary solution until a real update is available. It’s also known as a “Quick Fix” or “Quick Fix Engineering update.”
Some companies (hello IBM) also call this a “program (or product) temporary fix PTF“. This is because these patches are often included but unchanged in a subsequent release, they are also known as a “permanent temporary fix.”
It goes without saying that a security patch is no less urgent than a hotfix. And sometimes security holes are covered with a hotfix before they are actually closed. But there are less urgent security issues that are patched regularly — once a month or once in a quarter or all at once in one patch.
Microsoft regularly rolls out Service Packs, which include Windows updates, fixes, and improvements, and increasingly other software updates. In the meantime, this term is commonly used to describe “cumulative” updates. This means that every subsequent service pack includes all the new improvements as well as those from the previous packs. That’s why it’s ok if you skip one.
When a software supplier releases a “point release,” which refers to the number after the dot increases by 1, it often leads to a discussion. Purists say these should only be done to release improvements and bug fixes. However, many software makers add a new functionality, or even introduce a new user interface.
This can often cause more problems for organizations, because a new functionality or interface means that users need to be retrained or informed. And this is hardly ever taken into account. But you need to react quickly because they also include bug fixes. There is no easy answer. But waiting for some time before doing the update seems sensible in this case. It’s fair to say that we can also be too enthusiastic to respond to point releases. It’s a tough one.
This is not an update, but our feature that makes software deployment really easy for any type of patch. We provide the latest versions in the built-in Package Store in Easy Software Deployment. Download and deploy — as soon as it suits you, of course.
Do you have any questions, or would you like to tell us something? Do not hesitate to contact us. Or leave a comment.