Microsoft releases SQL Server Cumulative Updates about every 60 days. This is a part of your job that you’re going to be doing a lot, so let’s get good at it! Here’s the strategy I like to use.
Pick what patch you’re going to apply. Generally speaking, you should be on the most recent Cumulative Update available for your version. (Years ago, folks only applied Service Packs, but starting with SQL Server 2017, Service Packs are gone. Microsoft only ships Cumulative Updates now.)
Decide how you’re going to detect problems. Every now and then, an update breaks something. For example,