Quest Updates Kace System Management Appliance With Improved Security

The Kace Systems Management Appliance now benefits from two-factor authentication security and extends system management out to IoT devices.

Kace System Management dashboard

Quest Software announced the release of Kace Systems Management Appliance (SMA) 9.0 on Sept. 17, providing its customers with new capabilities to manage and secure network-attached devices.

KACE SMA 9.0, which is also known as the K1000, adds new automated service desk ticketing capabilities to help speed up remediation and update processes. Software license asset management has also been updated in the new release to help organizations identify what software is being used and what isn't, to help improve license efficiency.

In addition, SMA 9.0 benefits from the addition of two-factor authentication (2FA) to help further secure system installation and updates.

"Two-factor authentication has been added to provide an extra layer of security to KACE SMA for peace of mind," Ken Galvin, senior product manager at Quest Software, told eWEEK. "With 2FA, stronger security can be provided to users logging into the appliance."

Kace was founded in 2003 and was acquired by Dell in February 2010. Kace was subsequently spun out as part of the Dell Software Group sale in November 2016 to become part of Quest Software. Originally focused on hardware appliances that provide systems management capabilities, Kace in recent years has transitioned away from delivering a physical appliance.

"The KACE SMA is now sold only as a virtual appliance," Galvin said. "Existing hardware appliance customers were notified last year and continue to be supported as per their maintenance agreement."

Kace SMA is what Quest refers to as an asset management solution, helping provision, manage, service and secure endpoint environments. The updated SMA 9.0 release includes a SysTray application for Windows and macOS users on the endpoint that easily shows users the connection status of their system to Kace SMA. The SysTray also enables users and administrators to force a system inventory scan as well.

Also added to SMA 9.0 is the User Authentication Log, which keeps track of the users who log in to the appliance, providing an additional layer of security for the system, according to Galvin.

Security Scanning

In addition to helping organizations manage and provision software, Kace SMA 9.0 also provides support for Open Vulnerability and Assessment Language (OVAL) security scanning. OVAL assessment and SCAP (Security Content Automation Protocol) scan capabilities allow organizations to implement compliance standards like Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC), Galvin said. FDCC defines a set of mandatory configuration options of U.S. government endpoint systems. Additionally, he said the KACE SCAP scanner enables the running of tests against standard security benchmarks defined by the XCCDF specification. 

"The OVAL standard that is also part of the SCAP specification contains the details on the set of tests that are needed to successfully test against each benchmark," Galvin said. "The configuration identifiers within the XCCDF benchmarks combined with the OVAL tests allow users to map results to FDCC compliance requirements."

IoT

Historically Kace SMA has enabled systems management on largely x86 based systems, but with the new 9.0 update, it is expanding to support the rapidly growing world of internet of things (IoT) devices as well.

In addition to the Windows and macOS agents, Kace SMA 9.0 supports an agent that will run on the Raspberry Pi with the Raspbian Linux operating system. The Raspberry Pi is a small, Arm-based board that is increasingly being used as the basis for embedded and IoT deployments.

"IoT devices are moving away from proprietary RTOS [Real-Time Operating System]-based devices and toward Android and lightweight Linux distros to power them," Galvin said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.