Why Software Patching is Key to Your Online Security

A patch is a small piece of software that a company issues whenever a security flaw is uncovered. Just like the name implies, the patch covers the hole, keeping hackers from further exploiting the flaw. These cyber security tools are sent out to quickly fix bugs that may be occurring and create a safe computer environment. They may also be built in to your next regularly schedule update. That’s why it’s very important to keep all of your software and handheld devices up-to-date.

Software patches though mildly annoying serve an important role. When you browse the internet, your computer is at the mercy of its current protective measures. Viruses, malware and cyber thieves are always lurking waiting to exploit security holes and gain entry to your personal data. To protect your devices from a security breach, keep your antivirus software update and download recommended updates as soon as you are alerted.

The Microsoft Windows Automatic Update feature always sends you alerts of important updates when you are in the middle of something critical. These pop-ups ask you to allow the updates to be installed or even request a system reboot. The temptation is easy enough to ignore the update or cancel the shutdown.

Software updates whether big or small are important. Much like with changing the oil in your car or going to a doctor for annual checkups, updates are necessary. Computers and the software they house require regular updates to ensure they continue to run safely and efficiently.

**Devices managed by ITS are automatically kept up to date with patches.  But if you are not on a managed workstation please setup your computer to receive software patches from software companies.**

How to Update Your Operating Systems 

Don’t forget to restart your Computer

When you apply a security patch or any sort of new software, it is important to restart your computer. If you’re on a managed workstation, your computer is patched regularly, but it doesn’t get the full effect until your computer has been restarted.

Patching vs. OS updates for non-managed workstations or personal devices

A patch is a piece of software designed to update a computer program or its supporting data, to fix or improve it. You should set up your computer so that these will be sent to you automatically by the software company. You may have to check in multiple areas for your patches including:  1) Adobe 2) Chrome or Firefox 3) Microsoft 4) other products on your device may require patching.  Users may consider changing to a managed workstation to insure these are done automatically. To upgrade to a managed workstation start by calling the Yale HelpDesk at 203 432-9000.

How to tell the difference between a patch and an OS upgrade:

  • Upgrading Windows from 10 to 11 is an operating system (OS) upgrade; upgrading your Mac from Sierra to High Sierra is an (OS) operations system upgrade.
  • Security patches target security vulnerabilities and OS upgrades usually add enhancements or change OS.
  • Examples:
    • Patching is like fixing something that is broken.
    • OS upgrades are like updating the infrastructure of your house.