With the initial launch of Windows 10 in July 2015, Microsoft shifted toward delivering its products as a service rather than releasing major new editions every couple of years.
In line with the new software delivery method, the company now provides compulsory updates to help ensure that users are always running current and supported versions of their products.
Most IT managers already understand the importance of keeping their systems up to date for the sake of improving cybersecurity and performance. As such, it shouldn’t come as a big surprise that Microsoft has now changed the way it keeps its Office 365 productivity suite current by aligning it with updates to Windows 10. Microsoft originally announced this major policy change back in April, and this month it has come into force.
Understanding Windows and Office 365 Lifecycles
In previous editions of Office and Windows, customers needed to pay up front to upgrade to major new editions once they were released. On the other hand, business customers enjoyed longer periods of extended support for previous editions.
With the recent changes, however, users will need to upgrade their systems at least every 18 months to continue receiving support, although they no longer need to pay for major new feature releases.
As per the policy change introduced by Microsoft back in April, Office 365 and Windows 10 users will find themselves under increasing pressure to keep their software up to date to receive ongoing technical and customer support.
Now, Microsoft is committing to major feature releases twice per year, with the aim of meeting general availability targets every March and September. Both product update cycles now align to make the upgrade process clearer and more predictable, giving organizations the time they need to prepare themselves.
How Does This Move Help Businesses?
Consolidating the update cycles of both Windows 10 and Office 365 will ultimately make it easier for customers to keep their systems up to date. Although the shift in policy may prove controversial in certain circles, it’s important to remember that keeping your software current is crucial for patching security vulnerabilities and ensuring optimal performance of your business.
Most major cybersecurity breaches affect only systems that are running outdated software where hackers have had enough time to exploit pre-existing vulnerabilities. That’s why Microsoft and other developers are becoming increasingly strict when it comes to ensuring their customers are running the latest software, particularly considering recent major attacks such as the WannaCry and Petya ransomware.
Aside from helping to protect your systems from malicious software, keeping Windows and your Office 365 desktop applications current also helps to resolve other issues and access valuable new features.
Can You Defer Updates to Office 365 and Windows 10?
There are ways to defer updates to both Windows 10 and Office 365. In the case of the former, you can prevent major new feature releases from being automatically downloaded and installed. Another option, which should work for all Microsoft products, is to change your Internet connection settings to metered to prevent the software from using up monthly bandwidth allowances.
Microsoft strongly recommends that you do not use such workarounds to delay updates. Additionally, using the built-in functionality to defer Windows 10 updates only works for a few months. For example, if you need more time to test if your solutions are compatible with a new version of Windows 10 or Office 365, you can defer major upgrades while still being able to keep your systems safe with the automatic installation of urgent bug security patches.
Keeping your company’s systems secure requires a proactive approach, and that involves keeping all software current while ensuring that nothing ends up working beyond its support lifecycle. That’s why F1 Solutions helps supercharge your IT through the adoption of the most secure and cutting-edge technology. Call us today for an assessment.