We’ve found a great article from Nick Benton about a Flexible Approach to Microsoft Update Deployments. Below you can find a summary and the link to the original article at the bottom.

Strategies for Modern Device Management

In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape, managing updates efficiently is crucial for maintaining security, performance, and stability. Whether you’re responsible for a small business network or a large enterprise infrastructure, adopting flexible update deployment strategies can significantly enhance your organization’s IT management practices.

Understanding Device Attributes

Before diving into deployment techniques, it’s essential to understand the unique attributes of your devices. These attributes include factors like device type, user roles, geographic location, and compliance status. By leveraging this information, you can tailor update deployments to specific subsets of devices, ensuring that critical patches reach the right endpoints.

Key Techniques for Flexible Deployment

  1. Staged Rollouts: Rather than deploying updates to all devices simultaneously, consider a staged approach. Start with a small group of pilot devices (such as IT staff or power users) and monitor their experience. If everything goes smoothly, gradually expand the rollout to additional devices.
  2. Ring-Based Deployment: Divide your devices into rings based on risk tolerance. For example:
    • Ring 0 (Critical Systems): Deploy updates immediately to critical systems.
    • Ring 1 (Early Adopters): Roll out updates to a broader group of devices.
    • Ring 2 (General Population): Deploy to the majority of devices.
    • Ring 3 (Delayed): Hold back updates for a specific period (e.g., a week) to address any unforeseen issues.
  3. Conditional Access Integration: Integrate Intune Device Compliance with Conditional Access policies. This combination allows you to enforce access controls based on device compliance status. For example, you can restrict access to sensitive resources for non-compliant devices until they receive necessary updates.

Practical Insights

  • Patch Testing: Always test updates in a controlled environment before deploying them to production devices. Consider using a test group that mirrors your production environment.
  • Communication: Transparently communicate update schedules to end-users. Provide clear instructions on how to handle pending updates and any potential downtime.
  • Monitoring and Rollback Plans: Monitor the deployment progress and have rollback plans in place. If an update causes unexpected issues, you can quickly revert to the previous state.

Remember that flexibility doesn’t mean compromising security. It means adapting to your organization’s unique needs while maintaining a robust update management process. By implementing these strategies, you’ll be better equipped to keep your devices secure, efficient, and up-to-date.

Original article: https://memv.ennbee.uk/posts/flexible-update-deployments/