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Not forcing updates, kinda

Mike Vos is a guest blogger and IT Manager at Secrid.

We, like most other companies, struggle with getting people to update. We don’t like to force updates on our users and believe that this should be part of their routine. So, to accomplish this, we decided to train our users with a bit of (all in good fun) social shaming.

Our update train runs once a week for apps and every day for operating system (OS) updates. To save end user’s time, these updates get downloaded automatically. Once downloaded, the first prompt they receive is a device pop-up for the user to install updates. If the user decides to postpone the install, a clock starts ticking and the updates sit tight.

After a day, if the updates haven’t been installed yet, a new prompt appears. This time telling the user what the risks are when they don’t install updates. But they’re still allowed to postpone the install. Because, we get it, the user is probably busy and this isn’t a good time to run updates.

Another 24 hours passes, and we start to get a little bit more persuasive with a prompt every two hours. The user now gets presented with two options:

  1. ‘Go to safety’ which runs the updates OR
  2. ‘Stay unsafe’ which upsets the updates a bit.

You get to choose ‘Stay unsafe’ three times. And believe me, people do. At this point, we figure the user is not going to update their machine at all and it’s time to take matters in to our own hands.

At this stage the counter has hit 54 hours and ‘Stay unsafe’ has been selected three times. Now, the machine runs an inventory update which tells an extension attribute that the user isn’t updating. I get an e-mail stating that this particular Mac is behind on updates and it gets added to the group ‘One click away from MAYHEM!’.

One last prompt, one last chance to ‘Go to safety’. Living on the edge for a while longer, the user decides to ‘Stay unsafe’ again. We’ve waited long enough. At this point, a policy is triggered which installs SplashBuddy. Now the cool thing with SplashBuddy is you can make it show any content you’d like. We’ll come to that later.

After installing SplashBuddy, a script is run. The script waits for everything to be in place, quits all the applications, changes the audio output to ‘Internal speakers’ and turns the volume to 100%.

The final task of the script is to launch SplashBuddy. As mentioned before, SplashBuddy can show any content you’d like. With the volume all the way up and SplashBuddy blocking the screen, it’s time for some music. YouTube launches within SplashBuddy and kicks off at the chorus of Y.M.C.A. Only way to shut it off is by clicking ‘Update’ in the SplashBuddy window. Once completed the system logs out, the updates get installed and the machine is removed from the group ‘One click away from MAYHEM!’.

Works every time.

Want to persuade your users to update? Jamf can help. Request a trial and put this little exercise to use at your organization.