How to tell which Microsoft Office patching process to use

How you download and deploy Microsoft Office patches depends on the version and license type you have. Here's how to determine which process to use.

Patching Microsoft Office 365 is one of the easiest techniques to protect systems and users from harm, yet attackers realize we often delay those updates. Office 365 provides a way to update automatically in the background, but that doesn’t mean you can’t control what the platform installs. In fact, I highly recommend that you review for which “channel” your Office 365 deployment is set.

If you have one of the Microsoft 365 business plans that use Office 365 ProPlus, it is set by default for the Semi-Annual Channel. This patching cadence is the slowest of the three and ensures that you only get the major updates every six months in January and July.

If you subscribe to Office 365 Business or one of the Business Premium plans, their default setting is the Monthly Channel. This channel provides users with new features as soon as they are available and typically releases updates at least once a week.

Depending on your firm’s needs, you may want to back off this release cadence to ensure full compatibility with your line-of-business applications. You can configure this with either Group Policy, the Office Deployment Tool (ODT) or Intune.

To review what current patching cadence your system is set for, open Microsoft Word (or another Office platform), click on “File”, and then “Account” and review the section at the bottom that starts with “About Word”.

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