Remove VPN Dependency and Make Patching Blind Spots for Windows Devices a Thing of the Past

January 1, 2024 ,
by Dan Goss
VPN Dependancy - Windows Patching Blindspots

Do you have a VPN Dependancy for remote client management? Are Windows patching blindspots keeping you up at night?

The Virtual Private Network has dominated corporate IT architecture for years — giving remote users convenient and secure access to internal network services from anywhere in the world.

But is there a better way? Support for Windows 10 ends on October 14, 2025, so now is a good time to consider a new, more efficient way to access organisational IT resources remotely. Checkout our "Transition to Windows 11" blog.

If it’s not broken, why fix it, right? Well, many of us think the reign of the almighty VPN is about to end. Why? Because Virtual Private Networks are now being stretched to the limit as more of what we do is switched to remote working models.

Thankfully, there’s an easier, safer and more efficient alternative to VPNs, and it’s both easy to implement and cost-effective. But more about that later.

As this blog post is all about the perils of VPN dependency, let’s start by addressing the obvious disadvantages of this diminishing technology.

Why Depending on VPN Connections for Managing Windows Devices Is a Bad Idea

Just a few years ago, remote working was often considered a luxury. The chance to avoid the daily commute and work in pyjamas for a day or two was largely a rare treat for those in the corporate world.

While there was already a modest move to remote working models, everything changed when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Almost overnight, millions of us were working remotely — in our homes.

While there have always been concerns about the limitations of VPNs, those concerns became starker than ever during the midst of the global health crisis. And despite the pandemic now being a thing of the past, its legacy of remote and hybrid working is here to stay.

Put simply, VPNs can’t cope with the volume of remote users that rely on them these days. And the biggest issues are linked to three critical areas.

Scalability

VPNs were only ever designed to provide a small number of users with occasional remote access to internal IT infrastructure. So now that millions of people are relying on them, a lot of VPNs are buckling under the strain. A lot of firms are desperately trying to upscale their remote operations, but their legacy networks aren’t up to the job.

Security

VPNs communicate with internal IT networks via the public internet. While this might be a cost-effective method to gain remote access, it provides potential access points for fraudsters and scammers. The tiniest crack in your organisation’s VPN security shield might be all criminals need to inflict catastrophic damage to your systems and data.

Complexity

When VPNs were first developed, they didn’t have to cope with the plethora of devices, operating systems and applications they deal with today. Guaranteed, hassle-free compatibility across all these VPN clients and systems has become something of a battle for even the most talented IT superstars.

Connection-Reliant

If you rely on a VPN for remote network access, you can’t manage devices if they’re not connected to it. And that’s the reason why patching your Windows devices and applications has become a labour-intensive chore riddled with security implications.

More and more businesses are now looking for VPN alternatives to avoid these issues and create more efficient and flexible workforces.

How to Break Free from VPN Dependency

The good news is that there is another way, and it solves all the issues we’ve already discussed in this post. It’s called Microsoft Intune, and it’s something we at Workspace IT use every day.

Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way. Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based endpoint management platform that allows IT administrators to manage a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops and mobile devices running operating systems such as Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS.

That’s probably enough technical stuff for this post. In short, Intune is a device management tool that communicates over the internet instead of a VPN. It allows you to remotely manage all your essential patches, applications and policies with ease.

There’s now no need to connect devices to a VPN in order to manage them from remote locations — thanks to Intune!

In short, Microsoft Intune extends management capabilities to remote, internet-connected devices. By making the transition, your organisation can scale up your remote working practices and say goodbye to the costs, complexities and limitations of VPNs for good.

Are You Patching Your Windows Devices and Applications Fully?

OK, so we’ve already mentioned the issue of patching blind spots when it comes to Windows. It’s now time to put some meat on the bones!

Windows is constantly fighting newly emerging threats and vulnerabilities. That’s why Windows patches are crucial to the security of IT infrastructure around the world.

But how do you maintain a stringent patching schedule when you’re managing dozens — or even hundreds — of Windows devices and applications at the same time?

Are you confident that your devices are fully patched, safeguarding them against vulnerabilities and potential cyber threats? OK, you might be. But if your business is like countless others around the world, it might be vulnerable to patching blind spots no one knows about.

Why is this happening? Well, there are a few issues at play.

Not Prioritising the Most Important Patches

Put simply, some Windows patches are more important and urgent than others. Only experienced, highly capable IT professionals can sift through the endless stream of patches and prioritise them appropriately.

Unfortunately, too many organisations simply don’t have the time, talent or resources to do this.

Testing Issues

What happens if a Windows patch has a catastrophic impact on your IT infrastructure? After a few minutes of blind panic, you realise the patch should have been tested in isolation before being unleashed on your network. But this is another time-consuming and laborious process that makes patching even more difficult.

Coordination and Timing

How do you update multiple Windows devices and applications around the world in a timely and accurate manner? What do you do with Sophie’s laptop; the one she uses for catching up on work at home? And Jill’s personal phone? And Sanjay’s family tablet?

If all that’s not complicated enough, how do you implement complex patches across multiple remote devices and applications when timing is crucial to security?

Patching Status Uncertainty

Put yourself in the shoes of a stressed and overworked IT manager who is responsible for ensuring hundreds of devices around the world are updated fully and on time. Imagine trying to monitor the patching status of all those desktops, laptops, phones, tablets and apps simultaneously.

At best, it’s complicated. At worst, it’s a nightmare!

It’s Time to Implement a Windows and Application Patch Management Solution That Works

So, let’s do a little recap!

We’ve discussed the demise of the VPN due to an increasingly transient global workforce that increasingly prefers remote and hybrid working models, as well as the challenge of managing devices that aren’t always connected to a VPN.

We’ve touched on the powerful UEM/EMM Microsoft Intune and its role in giving you all the tools to simplify endpoint management, strengthen security and reduce costs.

And we’ve covered the issue of Windows patching blind spots

Let’s bring everything together with a tried-and-tested Windows patch management solution. To learn more about what Workspace IT do in this space, checkout our Application & Patch Managed Services.

Microsoft Intune is an enterprise mobility management (EMM) solution. You probably don’t need to know that, but here at Workspace IT, we like everyone to know that we’re experts in this field!

The ultimate goal of this powerful platform is to empower workforces to work flexibly and productively while ensuring organisations keep their devices and users well-managed and secure.

Microsoft Intune Can Banish Those Patching Blind Spots for Good

At Workspace IT, we implement Microsoft Intune as a powerful endpoint management tool. We do this to give our clients scalable, flexible, cost-effective remote working solutions.

We’re able to manage multiple mobile devices and PCs centrally — hugely enhancing management capabilities by including internet-reliant devices seamlessly.

The work we do with Intune improves IT security, enhances user experience and reduces the complexity of managing multiple devices.

Crucially, however, Microsoft Intune — implemented and monitored by experienced managed IT professionals — makes remote working easier, faster, and more efficient.

But if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Windows patches.

So here it goes…

Intune automates real-time patches and updates across multiple devices and applications. With VPN networks, it’s often necessary for users to log in to their devices and connect to the corporate network when patches are required. But that’s often a logistical nightmare.

We’re in the business of closing windows of opportunity for hackers, scammers and fraudsters.

The time between a new threat emerging and the installation of the relevant Windows patch is a window of opportunity for fraudsters and scammers. This is when your data and systems are at their most vulnerable. Thanks to Intune, however, these windows are smaller than ever!

Let’s Talk About Eliminating Windows Patching Blind Spots

If you’re worried about Windows patching blind spots, or you’re ready to embrace the brave new world of efficient remote working, we’re here to help.

We offer a range of managed IT services designed to make business IT infrastructure more efficient, more secure and more cost-effective. Contact us for a chat by calling 0118 432 0017, or head to the Contact page of our website and complete the contact form.


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