I have worked on any on premise SharePoint 2013 servers. and I also follow this approach when installing SharePoint security update or full CUs:-

  1. If our customer have test & live environments. We first install the updates (either SP security or full CUs) on test environments, do a full test by adding, editing, delete data , check all the views ,managed services etc.. then based on the test result we proceed on installing these updates on live. Sometimes we notice that a security update caused some changes/problem inside the test , so we try to fix these on test first or postpone the updates on live if the effect of the update is large.

  2. Some customers only have one live environment (no test) . so in this case our system admin take a full snapshot of the SharePoint server, install the SharePoint updates, we test the SharePoint after the update, and either proceed with the updated SharePoint environment, or restore the server from the snapshot if we find that the update caused some problems that we need to investigate more…

Now the above 2 approaches have worked for us on many projects and environments and we did not face a major problems.

But now we want to start a new office 365 SharePoint project, and seems we do not have any control on installing the security updates as we do on the on-premise environments.. so not sure how we need to manage the security update or CU update inside office 365 compared to on-premise environments ?

second question. now inside our office 365 admin center i find these upgrade options for each site collection:-

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so when i chose Yes for Allow Upgrade does this mean that my site collection will automatically have the latest security updates + CUs ? and seems sharepoint will allow me to test these updates before applying them as there is a section called "upgrade demo site"? or upgrade inside Office 365 is different than installing security updates and CUs inside the on-premise ?

2 Answers 2


You do not manage any server-side updates on SharePoint Online. Microsoft does this for you. For Site Collections, you can upgrade them to v15 mode if they're in v14.5 mode. But that said, any new Site Collection created in the past couple years is v15.

  • so how we can test any security updates or full CUs before installing them on office 365 ,, to make sure that these updates do not cause any problem .. as from on-premise experience some SP security updates such as (social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/office/en-US/…) have cause problems.. but we have prevented this problem since we always test the updates before installing them on live,,
    – John John
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:29
  • so how we can prevent this inside office 365 environments ,, since we do not have any control over installing SP security updates and CUs .. can you please provide more info.. thanks
    – John John
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:29
  • You don't and you can't. Microsoft tests this in multiple rings prior to taking updates of any kind to production.
    – user6024
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:36
  • but inside the on-premise servers we are always advice to test any updates before installing them inside live servers. and i think Microsoft have tested these on-prem updates also. so not sure why inside on-prem we need to test any sharepoint updates while on office 365 we do not have the options(we can not and we do not)? second question what does "upgrade demo site" option inside the office 365 site upgrade settings mean? is it similar to test an on-prem site collection after installing a full CUs? or upgrade inside office 365 is different than installing CUs inside on-prem server?
    – John John
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 0:51

Microsoft manages the SharePoint online infrastructure for you. So, you dont have any control over how updates are added.

Regarding question 1 -

One thing that you can control is what release track you are on.

Login to the admin center using Tenant administrator credentials.

On the portal home page, click on Settings > Organization profile.

URL - https://portal.office.com/adminportal/home#/companyprofile

There you will see the Release track of the tenant. There are 3 options here, First release, First release for selected users and Standard release.

Standard release -

This is the default option where you and your users receive the latest updates when they're released broadly to all Office 365 customers. This gives you extra time to prepare your support staff and users for upcoming changes.

First release -

With this option, you and your users can be the first to see the latest updates and help shape the product by providing early feedback. You can choose to have individuals or the entire organization receive updates early.

Note - If you are already on the First release and now you click on Standard release, you will lose the "New features" available via First release.

Set up the Standard or First Release options in Office 365

Regarding question 2 -

Site collection upgrade option is more like converting the user experience to a new feature that has been rolled out. Somewhat like Visual Upgrade option that we have in SP 2013

In the cloud first world, the security updates are pushed as soon as possible. Sometimes the updates/build are pushed hourly as well.There is almost no downtime. One way to find out if your tenant has been updated is to check the below url across some time interval:


  • so you mean when a new update is available inside the Standard release , then i have to install them ,, i can not postpone it further ? second question, how i can test the standard release updates? could i specify to install these updates for certain test user, then test these release and proceed accordingly with other users?
    – John John
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 9:29
  • 1) You dont need to do anything, rather let me put it this way, you cant install like we do on OnPrem . The updates are installed in the background by Microsoft. 2) Regarding the testing, MS already tests the updates before pushing to all tenants, so you dont need to do any testing. If you specify first release for selected users, then only for those users will the certain preview features be enabled. If its standard release, then all users will have the same features at the same time. Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 9:35

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