Microsoft automates critical security fixes with a free patch-download tool

Microsoft has released a free tool to help companies keep up with the timely downloading and distribution of security patches,...

Microsoft has released a free tool to help companies keep up with the timely downloading and distribution of security patches, writes Eric Doyle.

Announcing the availability of Software Update Services (MSUS), Stuart Okin, chief security officer at Microsoft UK, said, "The tool is designed to keep SMEs up to date on critical updates. It is not like the Windows Update site and will only download fixes for critical security vulnerabilities, not bug fixes."

The tool, an update of the Federated Server software, can be configured only to download the patches where companies wish to test them against a standard application stack first to ensure there are no secondary effects. Users can then download the patches over the company intranet or systems managers can distribute them.

Microsoft described MSUS as an extension of its security service, adding that customers who are happy with their current patch distribution system do not have to download MSUS. Also, Microsoft Systems Management Server users may prefer to wait until security extensions in the Systems Management Server Value Pack are released in the autumn.

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