Loudcloud Automates Patch Management

By Paula Musich  |  Posted 2002-05-28 Print this article Print

The managed service provider enhanced its Opsware automation platform with automated security patch management, auditing and monitoring.

With security at the forefront of most IT worries, managed services provider Loudcloud Inc. has announced a series of automated security functions it has added to its enhanced Managed Services 3.0 offering. The Sunnyvale, Calif., service provider enhanced its Opsware automation platform with automated security patch management, auditing and monitoring. The automated security features are an integral part of Loudclouds Application and Infrastructure Services, Deployment and Launch Services, and Host-based Intrusion Detection Services. With the constant uncovering of new security vulnerabilities, the proliferation of vendor security patches and the continued barrage of new worms and viruses, "patch management is a problem screaming for automation," said Frank Chen, director of products and services at Loudcloud in Sunnyvale. "You dont want to do it by hand, one box at a time."
The patch management system, created by Loudcloud security engineers, automatically identifies patch levels across both locally attached and remote servers, and it deploys new patches that are first tested and deemed appropriate by Loudcloud security personnel.
Compared with manually detecting patch levels and deploying new patches, the system is hundreds of times faster. That can be crucial when new vulnerabilities are made public to both customers and hackers. "Accuracy and speed of response is important here. As soon as a vulnerability occurs, people hack all over the place. This lets us be ahead of the game," said Purnima Padmanabhan, group product manager in Sunnyvale. For example, the Code Red worm released last July affected over 359,000 servers in less than 14 hours, according to the Cooperative Association for Internet Data Analysis. The server security auditing system examines some 40 different settings, such as user accounts and privileges, password strength and event logging, in a fraction of the time a manual audit takes. The security monitoring system tracks system log activities and automatically alerts the Loudcloud Operations Center when suspicious server activity is detected. It watches for 15 different alerts such as unauthorized password and policy changes or authentication failures. The new security automation features work across Sun Microsystems Solaris, Linux and Microsoft Windows servers. Related story:
  • Automatic Patching

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