Update power: Microsoft management solutions for your scenario(s)

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Microsoft Tech Community - Latest Blogs - .

Nearly every IT team is expected to manage their company's hardware, software, cloud connectivity, data access, security, and even the employee experience. IT is vital infrastructure and, like the electrical grid, is invisible when it is working well. Update management is a key component of maintaining that infrastructure, but there's more to IT administration than "keeping the lights on."

IT teams can be value creators and differentiators. Microsoft is committed to helping IT departments to "do more with less"—doing more for the bottom line by empowering them to manage updates with less effort, fewer resources, and in less time. Up-to-date endpoints help maintain security and improve efficiency, allowing IT teams to dedicate more time to focus on innovation.

For all the common challenges of endpoint management, every IT team faces distinct updating scenarios–each requiring a distinct solution. The video below shows how an imaginary enterprise meets their real-world updating challenges with Microsoft solutions in about two and a half minutes.


For a more in-depth look at these solutions, read on, and watch this episode of Behind the screens with Windows Autopatch for an expert discussion of these update solutions.


Cloud-based update management

For an increasing number of companies, endpoints are distributed across time zones and spaces – and users expect the same functionality on the road, at home, or in the office. Moving endpoint management to the cloud with Microsoft Intune or another mobile device management (MDM) solution can reduce cost and complexity, help you overcome the limitations of VPNs, and move toward Zero Trust.

As simple as can be – but no simpler.

The entire Windows-as-a-service concept is premised on simplicity – for IT pros and end users alike. The primary features of this concept are monthly quality updates which deliver security and reliability improvements and annual feature updates that consolidate the release of new functionality. These updates are distributed to MDM tools by the Windows Update service – a repository managed by Microsoft and accessed through endpoint management tools and services. Each of these Microsoft endpoint management tools is designed to satisfy the various scenarios faced by IT teams.

Windows Update for Business

Windows Update for Business is a solution available at no extra cost to licensees of Windows premium editions, including Windows 10 and Windows 11 Pro, Enterprise, Pro for Workstations, and Education.

With Windows Update for Business, IT admins can manage the quality updates that are offered to the devices they manage, set the schedule for deployment, and customize the user experience. Windows Update for Business enables progressive deployment ring creation, which is especially smooth when using Microsoft Intune.

Should an update have a negative impact during deployment, administrators can pause updates while they investigate using Windows Update for Business reports, the Windows Update troubleshooter, detailed logs, and robust documentation to help resolve issues. Uninstall capabilities allow for rollback of quality or feature updates.

Windows Update for Business is ideal in scenarios where an IT team wants to deploy updates in stages, monitor update progress, configure deadlines, and curate the end user experience to keep devices productive and secure.

To learn more, see What is Windows Update for Business.

Windows Update for Business deployment service

The Windows Update for Business deployment service is part of the additional value offered by the Windows Enterprise E3 license (as well as these other licenses)

With this solution, which enhances the capabilities of Windows Update for Business, IT admins can specify more granular configurations for update content, including drivers and firmware, and fine-tune the schedule for update delivery to different device populations. The deployment service uses Microsoft intelligence to predict update success, pause updates, and even intelligently rollout feature updates across devices in a group. It can be managed via Microsoft Intune and by the Microsoft Graph API, which opens even more opportunities for IT departments.

Should an update have a negative impact during deployment with the Windows Update for Business deployment service, automatic pauses can limit impact scope while admins investigate using the tools outlined above. For more information about issues and deployment protections for them, see our documentation on safeguard holds.

The Windows Update for Business deployment service is ideal in scenarios where an IT team wants to have total control over the deployment of updates throughout their tenant. It is also well suited to reducing the risk of issues among device populations with custom configurations or diverse endpoint types.

For more about Windows Update for Business deployment service generally, see our Windows Update for Business deployment service documentation. To learn more specifically about the driver servicing capabilities, see Commercial driver and firmware servicing is publicly available!

Windows Autopatch

Windows Autopatch is also part of the additional value offered by the Windows Enterprise E3 license at no additional cost.

With Windows Autopatch, which leverages Windows Update for Business and the Windows Update for Business deployment service, IT admins can offload the responsibility for managing, testing, and deploying Windows, Microsoft 365 Apps, Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Teams updates to the Autopatch service. This fully automated offering allows admins to enroll devices and let Microsoft do the rest. As this service continues to evolve, it will add feature controls to allow custom configurations for different business groups, the ability to define deadlines or deployment windows, and the ability to offer only a subset of automatic updates while retaining manual IT admin control over the others.

Should an update have a negative impact during deployment with Windows Autopatch, the service may initiate a pause or rollback dependent on the scope of impact. Autopatch customers retain the ability to initiate a deployment pause at any time and can utilize Autopatch service support as a single point of contact for update related issues.

Windows Autopatch is ideal in scenarios where IT teams want to reduce the time spent on update management, while maintaining visibility of and control over the updates applied to endpoints.

For more about Autopatch, join the community, watch the videos, and read more blogs.

Exclusively on-premises scenarios

For scenarios in which cloud-management is not possible or desirable, Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) offers a deeply configurable toolset that can be configured on an organization's own hardware to distribute updates to attached endpoints.

To learn more about this solution, see Get started with Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

Doing more with less

With the power of Microsoft solutions, update management can become less resource-intensive, enabling IT teams to accomplish more of their objectives and drive innovation and value creation. With regular updates to endpoints, users and organizations can become more efficient. Companies can see more productive uptime, and less time spent on troubleshooting and resolving update-related security and performance issues.

Continue the conversation. Find best practices. Bookmark the Windows Tech Community and follow us @MSWindowsITPro on Twitter.

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