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What Is a Software Patch?

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If you’ve ever needed IT assistance while at work, you may have heard your IT department or IT consulting company refer to a “software patch,” “service patch,” or “computing patch,”—or simply “patch” for short. But, what is a patch and what does it do? We explore this below.

What Is a Patch?

Technically speaking, a software patch is a record of changes made to a set of resources. A patch is comprised of code inserted (or patched) into the code of an executable program. Simply put, a patch is any update made to software that resolves a problem. Have you ever updated your iOS or Android operating system running on your phone? Yes? Well then, you installed a patch!

What Is a Patch Used for In IT?

In the business world, a patch is often used to prevent malware from entering your business network, server, individual workstation, etc. By not applying a patch, you may be more susceptible to hacking and risk losing critical business information. Malware must identify and exploit a flaw in a system in order for it to work—patches work to prevent this from occurring.

Software patches are most often used for:

  • Fix software bugs
  • Install new drivers
  • Repair security vulnerabilities
  • Address software stability
  • Minimize software crashes
  • Upgrade/update the software


What Needs a Patch?

In today’s technological workplace, there are many ways malware can enter your business networks from defects in software. These types of software include:

  • Email programs
  • Image viewers
  • Instant messaging software
  • Media players
  • Web browsers
  • Business software
  • And more

Any software that could lead to you or your business’s security being compromised may need a patch at some point of its life. However, not all software companies will release updates for their software, meaning you need a patch to repair the software and prevent its vulnerabilities from being exposed.

How Do I Install a Software Patch?

As a business owner, don’t worry about installing a software patch yourself—that’s what an IT department is for. Depending on the type of software installed, the software may notify you when it needs to be updated or even automatically install updates itself.

For example, have you ever opened Microsoft Word and received a notification that a new Microsoft Office update is available? This is Microsoft notifying you a patch is available. Have you ever unlocked your company phone to find Evernote has been automatically updated? Evernote automatically installed a patch on your device.

If your software does not automatically update, your IT department should install patches on any necessary software as soon as possible after the update is released. Doing so ensures the timeline your software is susceptible to malware or hacking is minimized.

What If I Don’t Employ an IT Department?

If your company does not employ an in-house IT department, hire an IT consultant to do so for you.

IT Company in Maryland, Virginia & Washington, DC

Maryland Computer Service is an IT company located in Maryland. We offer comprehensive IT services throughout the DMV area, including Washington, DC and northern Virginia. Our IT professionals can install any patches your business needs.

Our managed computer services will ensure your software is up to date and protected 24/7/365, no matter what your company’s data infrastructure.

Call us today to schedule a free IT consultation, or contact us online!

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