Seemingly perfect patches can cripple Exchange setups in production, but test labs can help you catch problems before they occur.
Patching Exchange Server is critical to protect it from potential security vulnerabilities. Patches help ensure the environment is compatible with other Microsoft products and is fully supported. Keeping up to date with patches can’t be understated because these often contain critical fixes that repair security issues or prevent possible data loss.
If you use any Exchange 2007 or Exchange 2010 version prior to Service Pack 3, you need to update as soon as possible and install subsequent update rollups. If you use Exchange 2013, the support schedule is slightly different. Simply put, you should be using one of the last two cumulative updates.
Patches aren’t perfect. They sometimes contain new bugs or cause additional problems. Exchange Server is mission-critical, so it’s reliable and easy when it comes to patch application. But that means that a problem with a patch can affect multiple organizations. This is why it’s essential to test patches.
Testing Exchange patches before going into production can detect potential problems. It also gives you some assurance that those patches will work once they’re applied. If you haven’t invested the time and effort into building a test lab yet, now is the time.