Microsoft is making several updates to Windows Autopatch to help busy admins automate the monthly Windows security patches, with new control features including a groups feature, new alerting and updated reporting.
According to Microsoft, the new Autopatch features are available in public preview. They allow admins to configure updates to specific groups, stagger incremental rollouts with phased deployments, new control features and updated status and reporting to help give admins data on success or failures of Autopatch.
The Autopatch groups feature, Microsoft says, allows organizations to create discrete populations of devices within their tenant and configure as many as 15 unique deployment rings, custom cadences and content to each of up to 50 groups.
Divisions, groups or other structures of the enterprise can be replicated in Autopatch and the update settings tailored to each unit, the company says.
Microsoft says the updates allow admins to configure Autopatch with granularity they need. For example, admins can update finance department devices across 10 rings on a scheduled cadence while keeping administrative and executive devices in the default 5 rings and updated according to deadlines.
The new release also includes new alerts and detail recommended actions when Autopatch detects missing or modified policies. Microsoft says this feature complements the “inactive status” feature introduced last month.
In addition, Autopatch will show more information about out-of-band releases in the “Release management” blade, and the schedule for those releases will be posted to the “Release schedule” tab. Included KBs will be available under the “Release announcements” tab.
Autopatch will also feature new reporting blades where admins can get summary views of their current status or views, as well as a new option to filter reports by eight distinct parameters to get granular, interactive alerts. Those alerts will highlight devices with issues and provide integrated details and recommendations.
In a blog post, Microsoft cites a Forrester report that concludes Autopatch can help admins spend 50% to 95% less effort on feature updates.
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