Microsoft is to stop providing free Patch Tuesday notices to non-premier customers in a move labelled by some as "an assault on IT teams".
The change relates to the Advance Notification Service (ANS) that provided organisations with information about upcoming Patch Tuesday releases.
ANS gave businesses the chance to assess how the updates could affect their systems, and stop any update that could cause problems.
However, Chris Betz, senior director of Microsoft's Security Response Center, said in a blog post that the company believes the majority of customers do not need the ANS information and let the updates happen automatically.
“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,” he said.
“While some customers still rely on ANS, the vast majority wait for Update Tuesday, or take no action, allowing updates to occur automatically.”
As a result ANS will be made available only to those paying for the privilege.
“We will provide ANS information directly to Premier customers and current organisations involved in our security programmes, and will no longer make this information broadly available through a blog post and web page,” said Betz.
The decision drew anger from some in the security community. Ross Barrett, senior manager of security engineering at Rapid7, was scathing about the decision.
“This is an assault on IT and IT security teams everywhere. Making this change without any lead up time is simply oblivious to the impact this will have in the real world,” he said.
“Microsoft is basically going back to a message of ‘just blindly trust’ that we will patch everything for you. Honestly, it's shocking.”
Wolfgang Kandek, chief technology officer of Qualys, also spoke up in defence of the ANS information.
“I have always thought that our customers were interested in the information contained in ANS, but we will see how that works out,” he said.
IT professionals on Twitter were also sceptical about the decision.
The move follows the announcement last year that Microsoft will close its Trustworthy Computing division, a decision that also drew criticism from the security community.
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