I've been reading on the message board about people who have taken a "patch and pray" strategy with their production servers. This isn't exactly a best practice.

Alpha tries to eliminate bugs from every build prior to release, but it cannot test against your application. That is your responsibility.

If you maintain a development box, a staging server, and a production server, you should never be surprised by a patch that breaks your application, or a coding change of your own that breaks your application.

How do you do this? Install two instances of the Alpha Server on your server, on different ports or IP addresses, with different web roots, and with different instance captions. One is your production server, and one is your staging server.

Use your staging server to allow customers to test all your own code changes and all server patches from Alpha, after you have screened them yourself on your development machine. Once each change has been completely tested and accepted, you can apply it to your production server, and be able to sleep nights knowing that you have mitigated the risks.