It's not just Microsoft software that needs patching

The days are long gone when software could be installed on a computer and remain unchanged for the duration of its use, as increasing consumer demands for the latest features and the greater threats of the online world necessitate regular updates for all types of applications. Microsoft is often the focus of jibes for the frequency of its software patches and updates, many of which have been released in close proximity and caused users to feel confused as to their relevance. While it can be annoying for users of certain programs to have to update these periodically in order to continue using them, considering the potential consequences of running outdated software could make their value more clear. This is especially the case for antivirus and security software, which needs to be kept up to date to ensure it's capable of detecting and responding to new viruses, malware and other security risks and won't leave your systems unguarded.

Microsoft isn't the only company that releases regular software patches, of course, and users of operating systems, web browsers and other applications produced by other companies should be wary if they have not been issued with updates for some considerable time. In the case of work computers, these updates will usually be managed by IT departments or other people in the organisation, but for home computers, smartphones and other mobile devices with internet access, regular patching can be of vital importance.

If you're looking for a convenient and hassle-free way to ensure you download all the latest updates as these are released, patch management software could be the solution. These systems perform regular scans for available updates and can install these automatically or ask for the user's permission first, depending on how these systems are configured and the level of autonomy you wish to retain.

If you have a number of programs produced by different companies, or you're running a number of machines on the same network, you should check that your patch management software is sufficiently versatile to provide updates for a range of systems, including Microsoft WSUS, CM 2012, SCCM 2007 and Apple Mac OS X as required. Checking for other features such as authenticated scanning, easy account management, the ability to schedule scans and to prioritise certain tasks could give you greater confidence that you're investing in reliable security software for your home or business when using all types of applications online.

Excerpt from: It not just Microsoft software that needs patching