Jul 20, 2011

What's the best tool for handling updates across multiple computers?

I'm working for a company that hasn't had much standardization, and have convinced my boss that we could see some real benefits from working with a homogenous environment where all the machines are running the same versions of the same software. Since I don't have the privilege of reghosting all the computers from scratch, what's the best approach for keeping all the computers on the same versions after I manually apply a bunch of Microsoft updates and service packs? I'm looking for something that's not too costly but woul dallow me to keep tabs on which programs have been updated and which ones still need to be updated.


There are a number of companies who make products to manage software updates throughout an organization: Numara Patch Manager, Lumension Patch & Mediation, and my favorite, Shavlik NetChk Protect. Microsoft's WSUS only goes part of the way to keeping your workstations "homogenized". 


Does it cost money that your company may have not budgeted for? Likely. But will it save you time, and make you available to handle other more important issues? Definitely. The worst way to treat IT is for the department to be like Paramedics, always rushing into emergency situations and applying bandages to stop the bleeding. It's far better to be proactive wherever possible.

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