If you use modern technology and technology services, you may be aware of security concerns, service outages, hiccups, frequent software updates and more. Guess what: YOU ARE A BETA TESTER.
"Impossible," you may say...but it is true now and for the foreseeable future.
Technology manufacturers and software developers go through painstaking processes to ensure a certain level of stability before release to end-users. What these companies and developers cannot anticipate are uncontrollable variables such as: user interaction, the millions of application choices that may be loaded along side of the release, security (or lack thereof), hardware variances and even more variables than can ever be counted. You are uncontrollable variable, so YOU ARE A BETA TESTER.
Update releases during 2018 to Windows 10 are not synonymous with clean, easy or predictable. 2018 proved a challenging year for many Windows 10 users who allowed Windows to "update-at-will." Major version releases proved to be biggest issue for most end-users and (ultimately) Systems Administrators. These releases that, sometimes, caused:
- End-user data loss;
- Network connectivity issues;
- Blue Screens of Death;
- Operating System Load Failures;
- BITLOCKER Access Issues
These types of issues can cost individuals, teams and firms significant downtime creating a lull in the ability to provide a the high level of service that customers expect. Remedying these issues can also be costly if handled on a Break/ Fix technology strategy
DON'T GIVE IN TO "FEATURES"
Apple releases new features with every major update, Google does the same with Android and Microsoft is, now, no different (this was not the case prior to Windows 10). Features are great; however, in another life when I sold software, the CEO told me: "don't sell the features, people think they want features, but once they know what they need, the features are the icing on the cake, not the cake itself."
Features are the stuff of marketing teams:
- This new phone has the most pixel camera on the market;
- This new phone will unlock because it recognizes your face;
- This new computer will tell you how good looking your are, today.
OK, so that last one isn't real, but might be a marketing ploy one day. Marketing is for consumers, not businesses. None of the items above relate to the "engine" that drives the device. The judgement of decision-makers should nary be clouded by the smoke-and-mirrors of features because it's not features that support a client-base or automate a process or ensure data is secure in transit, at-rest and in all the cyberspace between.
The takeaway about features and updates is...WAIT! You don't need the new features. You've gone this long without the new bobble. Save yourself the pain that may come from an update that has been pre-maturely released or, that may bring to light unforseen functional frustrations, by waiting a few weeks until the reported complaints have been aggregated. At that point, review for yourself if the sparkle of a new camera filter is worth the constant WiFi disconnects that are included in this recent "update."
HOW WE DO
At NS.BC we have technical priorities:
Stability makes a user efficient and effective. We have been involved in Personal Computing technology since the days of DOS and monochrome monitors. We have touched nearly every iteration of hardware and software known to living consumers and have worked, intimately, with every version of WINDOWS ever released (including ME and VISTA). We know what it takes to provide stability in an operating system and, lately, this means pushing PAUSE on Operating System Updates.
Service is the only thing that keeps the business in business. We have always offered a high-level of end-user support. Countless times there have been technical or security-related emergencies and we have always helped our clients and end-users to come out on the other side with a resolution, more knowledge and better forward-thinking solutions. Technology changes overnight. It's important that we change and that we help our clients to change in-step.
PUSHING PAUSE AND GETTING UPDATED
This article published by FORBES shows how WINDOWS 10 updates released in 2018 have caused issues for end users and Systems Administrators, alike. Since an early release of major WINDOWS 10 version that permanently encrypted two of our lab machines, we've taken proactive and precautionary measures for our clients on a recurring service agreement and have taken reactive measures when required for clients who choose to remain on our Break/ Fix option.
Our clients on Break/ Fix have been fortunate that we have been able to catch and stall bad updates or have taken the initiative to run emergency patching on their devices out-of-band (outside of the automated patching schedule built into Windows), when required by MICROSOFT and other third-party software providers. In instances where a bad patch has been released, we wait until a fix has been applied and then release the patch to the on-hold devices. In instances where there is an emergency patch recommended for immediate, manual install, we have done so immediately without charging the client for the emergency service. These two methods have saved significant downtime for clients and protected vital data against the publicized vulnerabilities.
In February, 2019, we will be releasing three new service offerings, two of which will include human-monitored and managed operating system and third-party software patching. Just like clients who have been taking advantage of our legacy, routine maintenance plans, we will be hand-picking updates to release and when to release them in order to provide that gentle balance between optimal protection and overall stability of the operating system.
Client opting to remain on a Break/ Fix or a Monitoring and Reporting Only plan will be subject to the release schedule and any "hiccups" that come with the releases distributed by the operating system and software developers.