Novell Zenworks 11 SP2 Adds Patch, Asset Management for Macs

With Zenworks 11 SP2, Novell has added full-disk encryption and extensive Mac support to help organizations manage the influx of Macs on the corporate network.

Novell is adding support for Apple Macs to its device-management suite to help administrators manage heterogeneous systems within the enterprise.

With ZENWorks 11 Support Pack 2, administrators can automate patch updates for Macs, automatically deploy software and patches, and manage each system, regardless of the operating system it is running, according to Novell. The company also added full-disk encryption capabilities to the Zenworks platform.

Mac support includes remote management, asset management, and OS X patching and Mac Bundles for automated software delivery. The platform would be able to manage systems running versions Mac OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard and Lion. Administrators can use Zenworks 11 SP2 to inventory all the Macs within the enterprise, push out software bundles to each device and access them remotely.

Mac support is becoming more important as users bring their own computers for work purposes, and several organizations have moved away from a homogenous environment to issue Macs to some employees. In a recent report, Forrester Research analysts found that 46 percent of enterprises with more than 1,000 employees have reported issuing Macs to select employees.

Endpoint management products need to be in "strict compliance with regulatory and financial standards and mandates," while still being flexible enough to adjust to user behavior, said Eric Varness, the vice president of product management and marketing for Novell.

The full-disk encryption feature in Zenworks supports both hardware-based and software-based encryption products. There is also a built-in centralized key management system so that administrators don't have to worry about tracking all the keys being used in the enterprise. Administrators can also run reports to be used for compliance audits to show which systems are encrypted. Zenworks also supports folder encryption.

Organizations have to comply with multiple regulatory and financial standards and mandates without stifling user productivity, said Varness. Using different management suites for different platforms or several tools to handle each management task adds complexity and increases costs.

On Feb. 21, Novell also announced two new suites offering Zenworks components as a single-purchase bundle. Novell Endpoint Protection Suite comes with Full Disk Encryption, Zenworks Endpoint Security Management, and Zenworks Patch Management as an optional-add-on. All three tools are managed through the same Web-based console. Novell combined the Endpoint Lifecycle Management Suite with the Endpoint Protection Suite to create the Novell Total Endpoint Management Suite as a single offering.

Zenworks allows IT teams to manage multiple platforms and define security policies for all of them from a single console. The platform takes care of asset and configuration management, patching and endpoint security. The platform adjusts the user's security policy based on the user's location and role. For example, a user may be allowed to use any device to access email when on the road, but be able to log in to the accounting system only if it's a company-issued device. Customers use the same tools for Windows, Linux and Mac machines on the Zenworks console.

Zenworks 11 Support Pack 2 will be available in March, Novell said. Full Disk Encryption is priced at $55 per seat per user. The Endpoint Protection Suite is also offered at $55 per seat per user for a limited time only, according to Novell.