Dell Upgrades Kace K1000 for Internet of Things

The latest version of the appliance will give businesses better visibility of the devices and systems connecting to their networks.

Dell officials are launching the latest version of its Kace K1000 systems management appliance to help businesses prepare for the upcoming onslaught of connected devices and sensors that will make up the Internet of things.

Kace K1000 version 6.0 is designed to give businesses better visibility of the devices, systems and other endpoints that are connected to their networks. The agentless technology will enable businesses to track devices ranging from printers, storage systems, and network switches and routers to power systems and firewalls, according to Dell officials. In addition, the businesses will not have to install software onto the devices to track them.

The Internet of things (IoT) is going to bring a range of security issues with it. Knowing what's connected will be an important step in helping secure the network, according to Bill Odell, vice president of marketing for systems management software at Dell.

"The ability to envision all the devices connected to the corporate network is tied closely to overall IT wellbeing and security," Odell wrote in a post on the company blog. "With insufficient visibility, companies are exposed to undue security risks and vulnerabilities, all of which will grow exponentially as we enter the era of the 'Internet of Things.'"

The Internet of things refers to the growing number of intelligent systems, devices and sensors—from automobiles and manufacturing systems to wearable devices, appliances, surveillance cameras, medical systems and televisions—that are connecting to the Internet. According to numbers from Cisco Systems, the number of connected systems will grow from 10 billion this year to 50 billion by 2020. What Cisco officials call the Internet of everything will generate $19 trillion in new revenues for businesses worldwide by 2020, and IDC analysts expect the IoT technology and services market to hit $8.9 trillion by the end of the decade.

Dell cited other IDC numbers that put the IoT into perspective. IDC analysts expects that there will be about 212 billion "things" by 2020, and that in 2014, more than 1.7 billion smart-connected devices—including PCs, tablets and smartphones—will ship worldwide.

"That's a lot of exposure if companies can't see and securely manage the deluge of devices entering their environments," Odell wrote.

The new capabilities address concerns that were raised earlier this year in a survey of 700 IT professionals sponsored by Dell's software unit. In the survey, 48 percent of respondents said they had nontraditional endpoints on their networks, while 63 percent said they expect new types to be connected within the next three years. Fifty-eight percent said they'll need to manage more than twice the number of endpoints in a decade, and 93 percent said they had concerns about support of new types of devices.

The latest version of Kace, announced May 13, offers other new features, including capabilities to manage systems running Apple's Mac OS X, Linux and Unix operating systems. The broader support expands the reach of the K1000 appliance beyond Kace's traditional sweet spot of Windows environments.

In addition, the latest version of the K1000 includes automated software blacklisting, designed to help businesses protect themselves from known malware, harmful freeware and undesirable programs that contain security threats or vulnerabilities. A new user interface offers customizable views, search and usage functionality, tailored dashboards and home views that reduce the need for training and speed up task execution.

The Kace K1000 v6.0 is available as a physical, virtual or hosted appliance, with pricing starting at $8,900 for the physical or virtual appliance and 100 managed computers. The appliance as a service is available for $6.50 per managed computer per month.