Automating security patches

Wednesday, 27 August 2003, 2:45 PM EST

Microsoft explained its highly publicised service for managing security patches at this week's Tech-Ed at Sun City, saying a choice of three methods is available to resolve the inadequacy of reactive current practices.

These are Software Update Services (SUS), currently in version 1, service pack (SP) 1, Windows Updates (WU) and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0 with the SUS service pack.

Jacob Miemic, Microsoft account technologist, told delegates that the first two only manage Windows updates. SMS is an end-to-end software update system, including security updates.

"If you are currently using SMS, then SUS is probably not for you," Miemic said. Literature on the different technologies reveals the other salient differences between SUS, SMS and WU, and the pros and cons of each. Miemic noted that SUS is probably at home in small to medium-sized companies, whereas SMS is primarily used by larger enterprises.

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