How Cloud Management Suite Brings Axiom 'Master of All I Survey' to Life

PRODUCT ANALYSIS: The chaos of digital transformation can be calmed with Cloud Management Suite, which unifies management across multiple cloud instances found in today’s enterprises, while also helping to secure those clouds from multiple threats.

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Digital transformation had become one of the largest disruptions to how businesses deal with information technology. After all, the road to digital transformation is littered with speed bumps created by new technologies, such as hybrid, private, and public clouds, which can introduce the very silos that digital transformation seeks to destroy. What’s more, the prerequisite move to the cloud to support digital transformation goals can also open up those same enterprises to new security threats.

The developers at Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Cloud Management Suite are looking to remove the angst of IT Systems management (ITSM) with their premier product, aptly named Cloud Management Suite (CMS), which brings the concepts of centralized ITSM into the world of the cloud, giving system administrators a single pane of glass view into their physical, virtual, and hybrid environments, while still maintaining the ability to manage the physical devices that are still in their purview.

CMS is able to accomplish that lofty goal by using the cloud itself. The product is cloud based and is designed to manage all devices inside or outside of the network directly from the cloud. That allows administrators to reach out and manage systems from anywhere there is an internet connection. Currently there are three different iterations of CMS available, starting with CMS Essentials which includes basic ITSM features, Cloud Management Suite itself adds remote control, software distribution, and numerous other features. Finally, CMS Real Time Security includes all of the features found in the other packages, but adds numerous security technologies to protect endpoints.

A Closer Look at Cloud Management Suite

Cloud Management Suite (CMS), which is the midrange package, combines all of the primary features needed by anyone tasked with managing IT infrastructure, and provides the needed tools to effectively maintain and support that infrastructure. Capabilities such as device discovery, inventory control, remote access, software distribution and patch management are well represented in the product. The product provides full visualizations of the infrastructure, making it easier for administrators to quickly ascertain the status of their networks.

One of the most important characteristics of any management platform is ease of use. When management packages are easy to use, they are more likely to be adopted and used to their fullest capabilities. The folks behind CMS are not strangers to the concept of ease of use, and the ideology of usability flows throughout the platform.

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Ease of Use was a primary design consideration for the CMS family of services.

Bringing management and security to an infrastructure requires that all the elements that make up that infrastructure are accounted for. Simply put, without an accurate inventory, effective management is basically impossible, and securing that infrastructure becomes completely impossible. CMS addresses the inventory issue effectively, using tools that allow administrators to discover devices and build an inventory of those devices. However, the term “devices” is a misnomer; CMS is also able to detect any physical or virtual device via its IP address. Which also includes the growing ecosystem of IoT (Internet of Things) devices, such as sensors, automation controls, environmental monitors, security devices and so forth. The ability to discover an manage IoT devices is quickly becoming a critical capability for any cloud-enabled enterprise, especially since IoT devices can introduce vulnerabilities into networks and normally lack any unified or cohesive control mechanism.

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Finding and identifying IoT devices is becoming increasingly important for administrators today.

Discovery is one of the first steps of deploying CMS-RTS and is accomplished via a wizard-driven interface that instructs the platform to go out and seek devices using numerous detection techniques. For starters, Administrators simply input ranges of IP Addresses and CMS scans the network and adds anything found to the inventory database. Discovered devices are automatically categorized and even broken down into subsets, such as IP address ranges, locations, types and so forth. That can save administrators an enormous amount of time when it comes to classifying device.

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Discovered devices can be organized using many different filters and categories.

Once all devices are discovered and incorporated into the device Inventory, administrators can start to manage those devices, performing numerous different tasks. All devices are monitored based upon numerous signals. Chores such as patch management are greatly eased by the CMS-RTS. Administrators can drill down further into each device to discover critical elements, such as drive space in use, detected vulnerabilities, device configuration and so on. That helps to ease troubleshooting. What’s more, a device history is also stored, giving further insight into any changes made to the device, further easing troubleshooting tasks.

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Administrators can gather additional information by drilling down into a device.

Speaking of troubleshooting, CMS incorporates a HTML5 remote control system, which gives help desk technicians the ability to quickly reach out and take control of an end user’s device to help that user with any issues or problems or perform remote maintenance chores. The product also supports remote software distribution, allowing administrators to push software, patches, updates, and other elements down to the devices being managed. Software can be distributed in the off hours, or based upon a deployment schedule, allowing IT departments to avoid end user downtime.

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Devices can be located via their sites and most any function can then be performed on the device.

While many of the features included are geared toward IT departments’ managing devices, there is one feature that benefits end users directly: Remote Desktop Access. Here, end users can be authorized and provided with the needed links to remote control into their office PC. All they need is as an internet-connected browser, the proper credentials and authorization and a remote user can login to his/her PC over a secure connection. That brings flexibility out to workers who travel or are working remotely.

Many of today’s enterprises are subject to legislative compliance, where defined requirements must be met, or the business can risk fines. CMS helps with compliance by providing a multitude of compliance reports, which can be used as part of a compliance audit process. Critical elements, such as deployed patches, device configurations and change management history are included in the compliance reports, easing the journey toward achieving compliance.

Perhaps one of the most important elements of CMS comes in the form of affordability. Prices start as low as $2 per endpoint per month. Volume pricing is also available, which can further reduce costs; the company also offers a fully functioning trail, which gives a full try before you buy experience.

All things considered, CMS takes much of the pain out of deploying and using an ITSM solution and proves to be an expedient way to bring cloud-based infrastructure management into any enterprise. What’s more, the inclusion of IoT support, patch management, and remote control helps the product deliver additional value.