Opkey Announces New AI-Powered Features | Read more
Advisory for Oracle Cloud 24C Release | Download now
Opkey Named Workday Partner | Read more
Everything You Need to Know about Oracle’s Critical Patch Updates

Everything You Need to Know about Oracle’s Critical Patch Updates

June 23, 2023
Iffat Ara Khanam

Oracle provides Critical Patch Updates for both on-premise and Cloud-based Oracle applications. Patching is Oracle's most seamless method of introducing innovations, as well as making quick fixes to the product. Oracle Critical Patch Updates (CPU) address potential security vulnerabilities in Oracle products, including code and third-party components. Customers should refer to the Critical Patch Update Advisory for detailed information about each patch update.  

How can you test these updates most strategically? How can you save testing effort and time while avoiding critical defects in production?

What Is Patching?

Patching is Oracle’s most immediate method of providing new features. Patches are unavoidable, whether you manage an on-premise Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) environment 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
  • Utilizing Oracle Support Tools for efficient patch management and issue resolution

Oracle Patching Isn't Always as Simple as You May Think

Patching is often 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.

Organizations can contact Oracle support for assistance with complex patching procedures.

Oracle Critical Patch Updates (CPU) Do Not Have to Be a Hassle

Each Oracle critical patch update includes security patches for various product families, including Oracle Database Server, Oracle Fusion Middleware, and Oracle Java SE. 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. Applying security patches and fixes promptly is crucial to mitigate risks associated with identified vulnerabilities. Only the most critical patches, depending on your particular Oracle environment, need to be tested.

1. Risk

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?

Utilizing the Oracle Autonomous Health Framework can help in identifying and mitigating risks associated with patch updates.

2. Time

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.
  • Ensuring timely communication and updates for Oracle Communications products.
3. Cost

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. The cost of patching Oracle Financial Services Applications should be carefully assessed to ensure efficient resource allocation.

Follow the Oracle patching testing guidelines to act quickly during the next update and reduce your chance of a security breach. ‍

Choose a Testing Solution That Is Customized for Business Application Users

Learn more: How Cottage Health achieved 100% test coverage and reduced testing cycle times by 87%.

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.

Opkey conducts a rigorous series of automated tests to verify the security fixes and enhancements before deploying them to customers' environments. Opkey then uses AI-powered testing capabilities to clearly show you what has changed in your transactions, setups, and custom screens. Opkey's impact analysis report then automatically highlights things you should be aware of.  

What was the result? Companies can validate their critical patch update in as few as three days.

Final Thoughts

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. Staying informed about Oracle's security alerts is crucial for maintaining system security.

Test Automation with Opkey
Want to learn how Opkey can help with Oracle CPU testing, and more?
Contact us