When to patch

software patch

When to patch? Should you update your computer software the minute the vendor releases an update?

Yes and no.

This morning I was at a networking meeting and the gentleman across the table was complaining about his laptop. “You tweeted about an urgent Apple update this morning so I installed it right away. Now the computer is slow”.

Yes, I did tweet about an urgent Apple update this morning. But I always tell my clients to schedule their patches, even the urgent ones.

Here’s why:

1) You can’t predict how long it will take to install the update. Make sure you update when it won’t affect your business.

2) Most vendor updates come out once a month, usually the second Tuesday of the month. Regularly scheduling your updates at the end of the second week of the month maximizes your protection and minimizes your down time.

3) Sometimes patches create new problems. Wait a few days after the second Tuesday of the month and most of the bugs in the bug patches are fixed or the patch gets pulled.

You really want to minimize the disruption to your business.

Last month a German pro basketball team was relegated to a lower division all because of a Windows update. The team uses a laptop to power the scoreboard at their games. But no one scheduled regular updates for it. So right before a game, no one was paying attention and the laptop started to download and install Windows updates. The game was 17 minutes late starting while everyone had to wait for the laptop to reboot so it could power the scoreboard.

The team was penalized for the late start by being put into a lower division. Seriously. Story here.

Don’t get your business penalized. Assign someone (your IT person or an employee) to manage your software patching schedule. This should be a monthly event for all your devices.