Patches to software are to be expected to keep your applications current. But your systems can become unavailable if the planning and execution of a patch are not done flawlessly. Companies such as Sonic Systems have the staff trained to do the research and planning to patch your system successfully. Here are some of the critical tasks that must be done prior to applying a patch to keep your small business running smoothly.
Studying the Release Notes
This is the first step in determining how your business and staff will be affected by the patch. There may be changes to the behind-the-scenes processing that are transparent to you. But there can also be an interface and functional changes that require your staff it be trained on the changes. Setting up training is an important part of a patching plan.
Most businesses rely on multiple applications, and these are often tightly integrated. Whether you use a business solution package or independent applications, when you impact one application, you likely are affecting others. Determining how the patch affects these dependencies is critical to preventing problems with the patch. For example, a simple change to a workflow alert in the ordering system may prevent the billing system from sending the customer an invoice.
For complex patches that affect multiple applications, a plan needs to be in place to test functionality after the patch is applied. This involves creating test scenarios to evaluate the functions in the system changed by the patch. This requires coordinating with your staff and operational schedule so as not to impact your business.
Good planning reduces the risk that a patch will negatively impact your system. But, unforeseen problems happen and a patch can disable a critical part of your system. A plan to restore your system is necessary to prevent downtime while the problem is determined and a fix applied.