MICROSOFT HAS ESCHEWED the first Update Tuesday, or 'Patch Tuesday', Advance Notification of the year to announce that it is killing off the Advance Notification Service (ANS) for the general public and, as such, from next month there will be no Advance Notification.
Traditionally, Microsoft has issued the Advance Notification on the weekend prior to the 'Patch Tuesday' Tuesday to give administrators advance notification of the changes they would need to prepare for, in case any such preparation was required.
However, 2015 sees the end of the ANS appearing to the general public, meaning that anyone wishing to see an Advance Notification will need to request it from their account manager, presumably in the form of an Advance Notification request.
Whether individual account managers will need a form offering advance notification of a request for an Advance Notification is likely to be down to each individual account manager, but if we find out to the contrary we will, of course, bring you advance notification.
Commenting on the change, Callum Booth of tech PR gurus Chameleon, said: "Hmm. I have always thought that our customers were interested in the information contained in ANS, but we will see how that works out."
Explaining the end of public ANS, Chris Betz, senior director at Microsoft's security research arm, said: "Customer feedback indicates that many of our large customers no longer use ANS in the same way they did in the past due to optimised testing and deployment methodologies.
"While some customers still rely on ANS, the vast majority wait for Update Tuesday, or take no action, allowing updates to occur automatically."
This is the second time that Microsoft has attempted to kill off the ANS. In July 2014, the company was forced to backpedal after announcing the end of ANS by email with almost no advance notification before giving the following advance notification a few days later: "We have reviewed our processes and will resume these security notifications with our monthly Advanced Notification Service on July 3 2014."
Whether or not the ANS will be brought back from the boneyard a second time remains to be seen, but it may come down to feedback, especially given the lack of advance notification that it was to close.
The previous move was due to regulations on email distribution being tightened, but this time it appears that the death knell of the ANS is more extensive.
We know that many of our readers have taken a keen interest in the Advance Notification articles that we have written every month, and so we are as surprised as you are that there will no longer be any advance notification.
But take this as advance notification that our coverage and analysis of Patch Tuesday will continue in 2015. Albeit without advance notification. µ
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