Introduction: When your business is just getting started, managing your desktop and server computers doesn’t seem like a big deal. Then one day you turn around and you’ve got 100 employees, each with at least one computer; a number of employees using Blackberries; a dozen or more different servers running business-critical applications; and a Web server accepting e-commerce orders.
Suddenly you have full-time employees doing nothing but managing all these technology systems, keeping them patched, updated, and secure.
What Is This Solution?
That’s where software that manages your technology systems comes into the picture. Systems management software products are designed to make it easy to manage all your desktops, servers, and other network devices from a single console. Standard features of SMS products typically include taking inventory of all your servers and desktop hardware and the software installed on each; automatically installing updates and patches to all relevant systems from a central location; monitoring systems to aid in diagnosing problems; and isolating devices from the network when they are under attack or infected by malicious software.
What Are the Benefits of This Solution?
SMS products automate most (but not all) of the tedious, repetitive tasks that IT managers typically spend their time on, freeing up scarce and expensive IT talent. If you only have one or two PCs, you probably don’t need SMS. But once you face 50 or 100 upgrades at a time, SMS becomes important. Other key benefits include the following:
- Automatically tracking all hardware devices (desktops, laptops, servers, printers, etc.) and installing software packages
- Scheduling and installing new software packages from a central location as well as updating and patching already installed products
- Remotely controlling any desktop or server PC (good for troubleshooting or user assistance)
- Isolating devices from the rest of the network if they are under attack or infected with malicious software
Checklist: When Is This Solution Right for Your Company?
Here are some questions to evaluate when considering purchasing an SMS product:
- Do you have more than three servers on your network or more than 20 desktops?
- Are you unable to keep all your desktops and servers patched and the latest software releases installed?
- Do you spend a lot of time troubleshooting desktop problems, particularly with users outside your immediate vicinity?
- If a PC on your network is infected with a virus or worm, will it take a long time to isolate that PC from your network?
- When evaluating the time spent maintaining and updating network devices, does the value of that time exceed or approach the amount an SMS product would cost?
If you answer yes to at least three of these questions, you should consider acquiring an SMS product for your business.