Until Microsoft incorporates SQL Server service packs and hotfixes into Windows Automatic Updates and the Windows Update Services, you'll need to repeat this process periodically to stay current as new service packs and hotfixes are released. Be sure to pick a time that is convenient for you and the people that rely on those systems.
In the meantime, several commercial products can help with SQL Server patch assessment and deployment, including Shavlik Technologies' Shavlik HFNetChk Pro; St. Bernard Software's UpdateEXPERT; and GFI Software Ltd.'s GFI LANguard Network Security Scanner. Most of them have free or demonstration versions available so you can assess whether or not their products are right for your environment.
HOW TO PATCH SQL SERVER, PART 2
Step 1: Segregate your scan results
Step 2: Obtain service packs and prepare for deployment
Step 3: Deploy service packs
Step 4: Obtain hotfixes and prepare for deployment
Step 5: Deploy hotfixes
Step 6: Re-assess network
Step 7: Plan next assessment
Back: How to patch SQL Server, part 1
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Chip Andrews is the director of research and development for Special Ops Security Inc. and the founder of the SQLSecurity.com Web site, which focuses on Microsoft SQL Server security topics and issues. He is also the author of SQL Server Security.