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Worried About CX Scores? Get Easy Wins with Live Patching
Retention rates, NPS, customer score… if you work in the IT department of a telecoms company or any client-facing team, you’ll know all about the customer metrics used to evaluate the happiness of your millions of users.
After all, growing and holding on to market share is one of the biggest profit drivers for telecom operators, and that requires happy customers.
But there’s one thing that can wipe out a CX score faster than you can say NPS: a service-destroying cyberattack that takes days to recover from, like the one that happened to Vodafone Portugal in February 2022.
Read on to see why poor patching hygiene can lead to poor CX scores and why live patching delivers two quick, easy wins for customer satisfaction.
What Does Patching Have to Do With CX?
You’re already aware of common strategies to boost customer experience scores. Things like improving customer service, deploying cutting-edge tech, and ensuring the reliability of operations. But did it ever occur to you, given the elevated risk of cyberattacks, that achieving consistent patching could deliver some of the easiest wins for CX metrics?
It’s a common fact of IT life that the programming flaws called security vulnerabilities are identified long after hardware and software have been released, sometimes decades later. As a telecoms operator, you almost certainly operate tech that’s previously been found to be vulnerable, and new vulnerabilities will continue to emerge.
Hackers, from common criminals right through to enemy states, can leverage these vulnerabilities to break into your systems. When a hacker gains access, anything can happen: systems can go offline, data can get lost, and services can be disrupted. It can be disastrous for customer satisfaction because customers that rely on the critical services that you provide have long memories.
There’s a simple solution though: patching the flaw makes the vulnerability go away and closes that particular door to potential attackers.
Patching Is a Must, But There’s a Catch
A patch is a short piece of code that fixes the security vulnerability in the flawed code so that hackers can’t get in. When you patch a vulnerability, you close the door to attackers. As a consequence, if you can manage to consistently patch vulnerabilities, you significantly reduce the chance of a successful cyberattack and reduce the risk of taking a hit on customer experience.
The usual, manual way of patching requires systems to be taken offline in order to be rebooted for the patch to become active. This implies scheduling maintenance windows that either take telecoms services completely offline or degrade performance. Worse, if something else goes wrong during the patching process, there’s a risk that the lower availability could lead to service collapse altogether.
If you do patching properly, but do it the usual old way, you will inevitably impact your CX scores negatively. In other words, to improve service quality and continuity, you need to accept a temporary impact on service quality and continuity.
CX Benefit 1: Limit Patching-Related Disruption
Live patching works differently because it applies patches in memory while the service is actively running, with no impact on the service whatsoever. There is no requirement to restart when you live patch.
That’s where live patching changes the game. Including live patching in your patch management routines means that you remove the need to restart the system being patched and reduce the need to schedule maintenance windows. Live patching therefore minimizes disruption.
This leads us to CX benefit number one: when you deploy live patching, you reduce the disruption caused by patching to the bare minimum. As soon as a patch for the vulnerability is released, live patching kicks in to apply the patch without causing anything to disrupt service continuity.
The result: thanks to live patching, you can patch consistently and your customers never experience any service disruptions – end of story. Live patching greatly reduces the CX impact caused by traditional patching.
CX Benefit 2: Minimize the Risk That Things Go Wrong
There is more to the CX + live patching story though. Because live patching is automated, and because live patching doesn’t need components like maintenance windows or reboots, tech teams are able to patch with incredible consistency. Put another way, live patching enables you to react much faster and more reliably to emerging security vulnerabilities.
Instead of waiting weeks or months to apply a patch (or, as it commonly happens, not patching at all) live patching enables tech teams to patch right away.
This means that the window of opportunity for hackers is reduced to the minimum, which – in turn – reduces the risk of a successful attack to a minimum.
And that’s the second big benefit of live patching: live patching is a powerful cybersecurity tool that significantly reduces your risk exposure and the risk that your systems are compromised so badly that customers walk out.
Consider Adding Live Patching to Your CX Arsenal
Clearly, live patching is a simple, cost-effective way to reduce the performance impact of patching and to reduce the risk of successful cybersecurity attacks. Tech teams should embrace it anyway, it just makes a lot of sense.
But there are wider organizational benefits too – from fewer disruptions that affect internal stakeholders to freeing time up for tech teams, which means they can now spend their time on other priorities.
Improved customer experience is one of these benefits. So, in the quest to get that Net Promoter Score higher, why not give live patching a go?