Microsoft has announced that it is beginning a formal testing program for its monthly software patches. The program had been a pilot project for the past year.
"As part of this quality control program, Microsoft's security updates are made available to a limited group of customers in advance of general availability who can test them in a broad range of configurations and environments," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Hand-picked participants from across a range of industries are provided with the security updates without knowledge of the associated vulnerabilities, and test them in secure environments. Deployment in production environments is forbidden, and participants must sign non-disclosure agreements. Microsoft said the program is now closed to new participants.
"Over the past year, we have defined a set of test scenarios to help maximize security update quality," the spokesperson said. "As part of the Security Update Validation Program, we have now identified active and standby participants that meet the requirements necessary to deploy the updates against those test scenarios, allowing us to make the program a formal part of the update engineering process."
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