IT Support Consultant (ITSC) Team
Remote Management Software
Computing in administrative departments across campus is not consistently organized and managed. Although standard desktops have become common, once computers are deployed on the desktop, they do not have uniform security, software availability, and settings. Because of our lack of management infrastructure, CIS does not have real-time information as to the hardware, software, security, and status of most administrative computers; we can only react when there are problems.
The goal of this project is to implement a remote management system for administrative computers, which could later be extended to computers in academic departments.
We have begun to construct, test, and implement a system in which software can be automatically deployed to computers on a per-user or per-computer basis, with additional customizability for individual departments. Security settings are starting to be deployed consistently across the campus, and patch level (identify missing security patches and updates) is being determined and tracked for each computer.
The desktop management system will interface/integrate with CIS’ existing problem tracking systems so that computer information and recent service history would be readily available to CIS staff. Computer screens can be shared through remote tools, allowing CIS staff to work with many users without physically visiting staff offices.
This management system will create a consistent experience for administrative computers, will provide better information to support staff and streamline support tasks, which reduces support costs and increase productivity. The increased security created by this system will lower risk of loss to the University through compromised machines, loss of data, and downtime when work is performed.
Q: Why do we need to use these tools?
These tools are designed to help large organizations deploy updates, patches, and other software to networked computers. By centrally managing patch deployment and software updates, they allow us to reduce the threat of viruses and other security breaches.
Q: How does SCCM/Casper run on my computer?
They install a small software "agent". This software runs silently, with no user interaction required.
Q: Will I notice SCCM/Casper in any way?
Yes. At various points you will see a prompt on your screen telling you that a new security patch has been installed and that your computer needs to reboot. You will be given the choice to reboot your computer at that point, or wait until a more convenient time.
Q: What happens when I am off the Brown network or on wireless?
Your computer will function normally, though it will not be eligible to install software packages when it is on the wireless network. Software will be downloaded and installed the next time you dock your laptop after your computer is eligible for advertised software. You should not worry about a backlog of packages if you've been off the network for a while; the downloaders are generally respectful of your bandwidth.
If a computer is never used on the wired network, talk to your ITSC, and we can make accommodations for you.
Q: How can I tell if a security update has been installed?
Security updates installed via SCCM will appear in your Add/Remove Programs control panel, just as they would if they were installed through Windows Update.
Q: What should I do if I think I need a security update but I don't see it in Add/Remove Programs?
Depending on the priority of the update, it may take 24 hours to 1 week before an update is installed. If you have questions or concerns about the deployment schedule, contact your ITSC.
Q: Can I still install updates myself by using Windows Update?
Yes, although you no longer have to.
Q: Will I lose Administrator rights to my machine if it is being managed by Remote Desktop Management tools?
Your administrator rights on your machine will not be removed, and you can continue to install applications you need for your own computer.