What’s the Difference Between Managed and Unmanaged Windows Updates And Why Should You Care?

If you’re a business running Microsoft’s operating system (~80% of all companies in the world do), you likely know that Microsoft releases updates EVERY month.

What are they for and why so frequent? It’s primarily because of the need for ongoing security fixes. Microsoft has a vast market share, and cybercriminals focus their efforts on the most popular platform. 

For businesses, applying these updates in a controlled and reliable manner is critical to your survival. If you’re in a regulated industry or have ever read the fine print on your insurance policies, you have likely committed to being on top of your security updates.

The reality is most small businesses aren’t on top of their Windows updates, as they have not engaged with a competent IT Provider who understands the implications of the regulations and insurance policies that apply to their clientele (and even themselves!). 

We’ve observed that there are two states of Windows Updates in small businesses — managed updates and unmanaged updates. Just because you have an IT Guy, or an IT Company, it doesn’t automatically mean you have managed updates. In fact, of all the clients we’ve taken from other IT Companies, nearly all (90%+) were unmanaged and below our standards. 

Do you think that if your business’s updates are set to automatic that you’re good?

Sorry, you have unmanaged updates. A part of a competent IT Company’s value to you is vetting monthly Microsoft Updates before applying them to their clientele and applying them during a controlled window of time. It is known in this industry that Microsoft shifted quality control of Windows Updates to the public, and hundreds of thousands of computers have been made not bootable because of a shoddy update. Non-bootable devices, infinite reboot loops, blue screens of death — these are the dice you roll when choosing unmanaged updates. That may be an OK risk for your home PC, but it’s wrong for your business. 

What does having Managed Updates look like?

Your IT Company takes an active role in reviewing, vetting, and rolling out Windows Updates every month. 

Sometimes they hold back bad updates and either implement a temporary solution for security vulnerability or closely monitor the channels for when the patch is safe to deploy (hint: we’ve done this several times this year!). They use a solution that inventories and manages Windows Updates centrally. Using this solution, they’ll routinely audit patch compliance and catch computers failing to update in your environment. 

Reach out to us here if you’d like to discuss implementing managed updates in your business.