WSUS – Windows Server Update Services

One of our aims for this blog is to provide more information on our current projects and some of the things that we have planned for the future. In this entry I’d like to talk a little about one of the projects we are currently working on, a system called WSUS.

In a world where our computers are only as secure as the last patch, it can be a nightmare to keep all of our workstations safe from the numerous threats roaming the internet. While the majority of this battle is fought by our Anti Virus software, Windows Updates are still essential to ensuring a truly secure Windows environment.

The only problem with Windows Updates comes from their annoying inconsistency. Some patches will interrupt you in the middle of you work and insist on rebooting your computer right there and then while other sit uninstalled for weeks waiting for you to click the little yellow shield.

From a business perspective there is another flaw. In an institution like Edge Hill we have hundreds of computers contacting Windows Update every single day. While not all of these connections will be downloading files this still accounts for a lot of traffic. Now consider the release of a new patch, even a small one such as a 5meg file, this same file is being downloaded hundreds and hundreds of times over by computers nearly all located within a single square mile of Lancashire. Obviously this isn’t efficient.

The solution lies with a software package called Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). This software can be installed onto a Windows Server and provides a local source for all Windows Updates throughout the network. Instead of hundreds of connections all going out to Microsoft we have one server that downloads the file and then distributes it internally to all of the computers around campus.

That in itself is pretty neat but WSUS has a lot more to offer. The management console imports information from all of the client computers around the network. This allows our technicians to see areas that need updating or where there are potential security risks.

WSUS is a very powerful system and we hope it will provide a much better way for us to manage the Windows Update process. We are currently in the process of performing testing and so far everything looks good. Hopefully we will be able to install a permanent WSUS server over the summer and provide for all of our Windows Update needs.

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