Testing is critical
"We checked the list of problem applications Microsoft provided and found no issues, so we did a test install on a few boxes" and checked how it worked with the hospitals main applications, he said. "Everything has been running smoothly," Keylard said, mainly because the hospital doesnt have any older legacy applications and because key applications such as its major scheduling application and its e-mail system are Web-based Microsoft .Net applications, he said.The best solution, he said, would be "a full-auto update" so no user intervention is required at all. Keylard indicated that he couldnt understand why some organizations and individuals have delayed updating their systems. "My question is whether other IT organizations have concrete reasons to delay SP2 installation, or if they are simply stalling in the hope that non-specific bugs are fixed," he said. Keylard said he suspected "this is a common mentality." Click here to read about a critical firewall bug fix that is included in an SP2 update. Testing also helped the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism to carry out a fairly smooth SP2 deployment, said Bernie Robichau, network administrator and security officer with the department. The department deployed it on more than 400 desktops and laptops in September 2004 after testing the deployment on a small subset of machines, he said. "We have had no significant issues with SP2 and a few minor issues that we dealt with on a one-by-one basis," he said. However, some testing and tweaking of the update routine was necessary to ensure smooth operation, he said. "We used the Windows Server 2003 Group Policy to modify the way SP2 worked in our enterprise," he said. The changes were necessary because "the vanilla install would not have worked out for us," he said. "I can see why people would be frightened about system upgrades coming down o their machine unsolicited," he said. This may be why some organizations have been "delaying the inevitable," he said. But you can "mitigate the problems of SP2 if you know how it works with the Group Policy and you know how it will affect your specific environment," Robichau said. "Testing, testing, testingthat is important," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Keylard said that in general, he believes people need to "learn to be more proactive and [know] how to protect themselves" because there is plenty of malware circulating that could cause problems.