Software Management Key to Updating and Securing Your Infrastructure

It’s hardly news that patching is critical to securing your infrastructure, as the majority of successful breaches are against unpatched machines. Ransomware such as Petya is one example of such an attack.

Keeping your software updated is also important, as the latest versions of operating systems and applications are far safer than their predecessors.

Unfortunately, patching and updating software can be so manually intensive that it goes undone, and systems are left in peril.

Kaseya has a solution – VSA by Kaseya now includes new software management capabilities that simplify and automate patching and update third-party software.

MSPs such as Dataprise, a one-stop IT shop that seeks to align with its customers’ business objectives, are already putting software management to use. In fact, Dataprise uses the solution to manage its Macs the same way it handles PCs. You can read the Dataprise case study here.

“VSA is an extremely powerful framework that allows us to create real, impactful automation,” said Oscar Romero, lead systems engineer, Dataprise. “Software management is so much more than just patching. Our ability to create custom agent procedures and scripts to meet any customer requirement is a game changer. It allows us to take automation to the next level, and deliver a higher caliber of service to our customers.”

The unified interface is a key benefit. “Kaseya’s single pane of glass is one of the most invaluable features of VSA. We live in a ‘tab-world,’ and the more tabs and consoles you need to log in to, the more complex and inefficient your process becomes. With VSA’s single pane of glass, we can see of all our modules and documentation across all platforms in one place. This holistic visibility allows us to be confident that we know the status of all our customers’ environments at any given time, and you can’t put a price tag on that.”

Automation in the Proper Measure

Automation of updates and patches ensures that all endpoints are current, and nothing falls through the cracks. At the same time, IT and MSPs want control. Policies, and in some cases manual intervention, accomplishes this. For instance, some updates and patches, such as those that defend against ransomware, are more critical and must be installed quickly. Also, some updates may conflict with your current software infrastructure and require testing.

Software management can provide policy-driven, automated updating while allowing tight MSP or IT control and flexibility. It can also schedule fixes so they do not conflict with times of heavy endpoint usage.

So what can go wrong if you do not practice good software management? Your systems are insecure and often not supported by the software vendor; you can run afoul of compliance regulations, and incur the costs of downtime and cleanup in the case of a breach. If you are an MSP, you incur all this and the dissatisfaction of your clients.

What to look for in a software management solution

There are five things to look for when considering a software management solution:

  1. Proper patching: Patching is core to an effective software management solution. While you also need software updates, make sure the patching engine is properly tuned.
  2. Policy management/automation: A completely manual approach to updates and patches is neither efficient nor scalable. Look for a policy-based automation system that also allows for fine-grained manual control.
  3. Single pane of glass interface: IT environments grow more complex by the day, with myriad operating systems and applications. In most cases, this means admins are staring at multiple consoles. This inefficient and cumbersome approach can also lead to errors. A single interface for all patches and updates reduces admins time, and banishes the vast majority of errors.
  4. Alerts: Admins and technicians cannot track every update, patch or new vulnerability. That is where a solution that does track all these items automatically and alerts you to issues can save the day.
  5. Cost-effectiveness: Software management is essential but should not be expensive. Nor does such a solution generate revenue. The expense should be both predictable and affordable.

How VSA Software Management Helps

Kaseya VSA’s software management solution can:

  • Scan your systems
  • Based on predetermined policies decide which patches should be deployed
  • Deploy the patches and updates
  • Set policies for which patches and updates are needed, and set priority and timing for rollout

VSA’s software management goes beyond alerts and fixes. It also examines whether your machines are compliant with your policies and evaluates whether those policies are sufficient to ensure protection. This allows you to see the bigger picture and adjust policies that do not are not in compliance or offering the correct level of protection.

Since software management is included in VSA, software management is less costly than in cases where software management is an a la carte offering.

Learn more about VSA and how you can benefit from software management.

Posted by Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.
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