Oracle issues an Oracle Critical Patch Update (CPU) that provides a collection of fixes for several security vulnerabilities. These patches address potential security vulnerabilities in Oracle products, including code and third-party components.
Every quarter, how should you plan for Oracle vulnerabilities? How can you save testing effort and time while avoiding critical defects in production?
What Is Patching?
Patching is Oracle’s most facile method of providing new features. Patches are unavoidable whether you manage an on-premise Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) or a Cloud application environment.
The functions of patch applications include:
- Resolving an outstanding issue
- Including a new feature or function
- Upgrading the maintenance level
- Implementing product upgrades
- Interoperability of technological stacks
- Identifying the root source of the problem
- Accessing online assistance
Oracle Patching Isn’t Always as Simple as You May Think
Patching is not a high priority in all organizations. In fact, it is frequently overlooked due to operational availability. Patching may be neglected when system architectures are overly complex, functionality is highly customized, or users lack knowledge of the patching procedure.
Oracle Critical Patch Update (CPU) May Not Be as Scary as You Think
The Oracle update for the April 2023 quarter includes 433 new security updates and 298 vulnerabilities in a variety of Oracle products. They are alarming because they may be remotely exploited without authentication (over a network without requiring user credentials to access them). As a result, Oracle strongly advises customers to update CPU fixes as soon as possible and prioritize them.
How to Balance the Cost, Time, and Risk of Oracle Patch Testing
Not all Oracle patch types require the same amount of attention when balancing risk, time, and expense. Only the most critical patches, depending on your particular Oracle environment, need to be tested.
Your most important decision as a test or release manager is determining what needs to be tested. You must also determine who needs to test, between IT and the business, in order to discover the most critical defects. The following points must be considered for risk mitigation:
- How can you be certain that your testing is focused on the impacted areas?
- Are your business users testing too much or too little? Are they putting the proper things to the test?
- Are you reliant on your database administration (DBA) staff?
Here are some time-consuming activities while applying a new Oracle patch:
- Capturing the new functionality introduced by the patch and educating the organization.
- Identifying the right people to validate the impact of a vendor change on current customizations.
- Identifying undocumented customizations and integrations
- Understanding and prioritizing patch impact on critical business processes based on usage.
The main problem, as with any project, is to release faster while minimizing excessive costs. Business analysts devote a significant amount of time to assessing the impact and estimating the cost of a patching project. For a low-cost approach, you can perform only business-critical testing before deploying the release. This testing can be carried out by leveraging your business users as testers.
Follow the Oracle patching testing guidelines to act quickly during the next update and reduce your chance of a security breach.
Read Opkey’s advisory document: Oracle Cloud Readiness 23B Release
Choose a Testing Solution That Is Customized for Business Application Users
The perfect testing solution should be straightforward, easy to implement, and give real value to both testers and business customers. Otherwise, expect significant delays. Tools like Opkey reduce the amount of effort required by business users and functional analysts. Opkey assists you in defining the test scope for each Oracle critical patch update and minimizes testers’ work in identifying the impact of updates. Opkey for Oracle integrates your business and IT activities, automates testing, and accelerates patching and customization while maintaining high quality.
Your systems need to be kept up to date if you want to remain secure. This is why Oracle emphasizes the significance of timely upgrades. Oracle’s Critical Patch updates follow a regular schedule, allowing customers to be prepared for these changes and minimizing the risk of security vulnerabilities. By providing real-time system visibility, Opkey helps your business and technical teams collaborate efficiently and effectively.