No, IT system hardening and patching are not the same things, although they are related.

IT system hardening refers to the process of securing a system by reducing its vulnerability to cyber attacks. This involves configuring the system to remove unnecessary software and services, disabling unnecessary protocols and ports, implementing access controls, and applying other security measures such as firewalls, intrusion detection/prevention systems, and encryption.

On the other hand, patching refers to the process of updating software or firmware to fix security vulnerabilities and improve functionality. This involves applying updates provided by software vendors or manufacturers to fix security issues that could be exploited by attackers.

While system hardening and patching are not the same things, they are both important components of a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. Patching helps keep software up-to-date and secure, while system hardening helps reduce the attack surface of the system, making it less vulnerable to cyber attacks.