A day after Microsoft announced it will be adding Windows Defender ATP down-level support for older OSes comes the news that its Windows Analytics service is getting new capabilities aimed at helping businesses tackle Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities on machines in their fleet.
What is Windows Analytics?
Windows Analytics is a free telemetry analysis tool for business administrators. It is meant for guiding organizations through upgrading to and staying current on Windows 10 by providing actionable insights into device performance, reliability, and health.
This latest update, though, is primarily geared towards making administrators’ job easier when it comes to mitigating and removing the risk of Meltdown and Spectre attacks.
As you probably know by now, plugging those holes currently requires a CPU microcode (firmware) update, an OS update, and the installed anti-virus software being compatible with the latest Windows updates.
To this end, the service’s new capabilities will provide information on:
- Whether a Windows machine on the company network has compatible anti-virus software,
- Which Windows security update is running on a specific device and whether any of these updates have been disabled, and
- Which firmware is installed on the device (for now only for devices running on Intel CPUs).
(Microsoft is also constantly updating a document providing Windows customers with guidance on how to implement available Meltdown and Spectre updates, fixes and mitigations.)
Windows Analytics can’t be used to remotely implement updates and patches on systems that need them but can be a helpful tool for directing those efforts.