Salesforce.com patches are pushed directly to the production environment, unlike releases. You get informed of what they are and what they affect.
The patches have already been tested to make sure they don’t affect specific configurations. Typically, they do not affect anything internal from your own configurations as well. But, it is best to analyze the patch and determine whether to regression test it. Patches can be regression tested very quickly, especially if you have an automated tester. For most patches, it is possible to determine using your change control processes that they have no effect on anything preexisting.
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