BigFix Broadens Appeal of Patch Management Suite

The security configuration management company prepares a new release of its Big Fix Enterprise Suite with new software distribution and asset management functions.

BigFix will continue the drumbeat of convergence for administrative and security management functions on April 24 when it releases the latest release of its Big Fix Enterprise Suite.

The security configuration management provider, which claims that its software manages 5.2 million PCs, servers and mobile devices, brought new software distribution and asset management functions into the 6.0 release of its BigFix Enterprise Suite.

The latest release moves BigFix more toward the middle between security management and desktop and server administration tools, according to Gregory Toto, vice president of product management at BigFix, in Emeryville, Calif.

"Tradition desktop management vendors like Altiris or LANDesk have been embracing security. We come at it from our security roots and were expanding and adding functionality for systems management," he said. "Customers want to leverage a common infrastructure for multiple functions and they see security as driver for change and reporting for IT operations," he added.

And it works both ways, according to Eric Maiwald, senior analyst at The Burton Group, in Salt Lake City. "Management and security vendors were doing the same thing and suddenly all noticed it," said Maiwald, noting Altiris acquisition last year of security vendor Pedestal. "Good management or good systems management gives you security benefits," he added.

BigFix is unique in the strength of the agent its Enterprise Suite uses to execute a range of tasks without taking up a lot of headroom in the end station or bandwidth across the network, according to Toto.

/zimages/2/28571.gifTo read more about BigFixs anti-spyware tools, click here.

A new baseline feature in 6.0 allows administrators to audit software configuration against a policy baseline, provision new software against that baseline and enforce configurations to those policies in an automated process. "It enables machines trying to access a network to be assessed against a set of standard configurations. "If it complies, let it in, if not, remediate it, then let it in," said Toto of the automated configuration enforcement.

A new role-based workflow in version 6.0 allows users to delegate duties and limit access with more granular rights management for larger IT operations. "You may have a group of administrators whose only job is to upgrade infrastructure, and others who [manage] productivity applications, and another group that does patch management," said Toto.

At the same time, BigFix added new high-level reporting through new Dashboards geared for executives looking for a real-time view into security compliance.

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On the desktop administration side, BigFix added software usage tracking to help reduce software license costs and improve license compliance.

BigFix jumped on the regulatory compliance bandwagon with new reporting and auto-notification when a defined group of machines fall out of compliance.

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