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Executive Software Ships Patch Management Tool

Executive Software is shipping a patch management module for automating installation of Microsoft security patches that can be used either by itself or as part of the company’s Sitekeeper systems management suite.

Patchkeeper automates detection, distribution and installation of patches, based on a wide variety of selectable criteria, such as the severity rating of the patch, what type of patch it is, whether it has passed users’ compliance tests, and which version of the Windows operating system or application is affected.

Executive Software, of Burbank, California, created Patchkeeper by combining its Sitekeeper interface with patch management technology licensed from Roseville, Minnesota-based Shavlik Technologies. The new module provides a centralized tool for automatically tracking installed, as well as missing, Microsoft security patches. It supports computers running Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

The module is available separately or as part of the company’s systems management suite -- Sitekeeper 3.5. The suite also includes two other modules. The Inventory and License Compliance module scans users’ systems and inventories what software is installed on each machine. It also includes a license compliance component that identifies areas of non-compliance.

A third module, PushInstall, lets a systems administrator select a computer or computers to install software onto, point Sitekeeper to the installation file, and specify whether to perform the installation immediately or at a scheduled later time.

The newest module, Patchkeeper, is aimed at “automating best practices for patch management,” the company says in a published statement. Among the scenarios that Patchkeeper automates: a systems manager can designate test systems where new patches can be installed and tested. If no problems are found in patch testing, the patches can be “certified” for use on corporate computers, and then automatically deployed the next time a scheduled “scan and deploy” event runs.

The new patch management module also provides a variety of detailed reporting capabilities, including automatic e-mail notifications to an unlimited number of recipients whenever missing patches are detected.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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