KACE Blog

  • KACE Blog

    Three Additional Ways to Address the Most Common IT Challenges faced by Education IT Professionals

    In my previous blog entry, I explained three ways that Dell KACE solutions are supporting digital learning at schools and colleges by increasing efficiencies, reducing costs and improving security. Now let’s look at three more.

    1. Protect school computers, networks and data

    While access to the internet helps students study, it also introduces security risks. The Dell KACE portfolio helps keep your systems secure and available by automatically patching operating systems and major applications with the latest security updates, Dell KACE enables you to prevent data leaks by providing policy-based lockdown of USB, storage and communication devices with multiple levels of security. You can also establish a least-privileged user environment, enabling students and teachers to install software, make desktop changes and deploy ActiveX controls that IT has deemed secure without giving them risky local admin rights that would allow them to install unapproved software, copy data to flash drives or incur other risks.

    2. Broaden student horizons safely

    Smartphones and tablets enable “anywhere, anytime learning,” and the Dell EMS portfolio enables you to efficiently manage and secure these devices the same way you manage laptops, desktops, servers and virtual machines. This consistent yet flexible approach greatly simplifies solution deployment, device provisioning and security policy enforcement across all device types.

    3. Go green and reap energy savings

    Many schools and colleges leaves machines running overnight, over weekends and even over breaks because they have no easy way to shut them down. This results in high energy bills and shortened computer life.

    But educational institutions that have adopted Dell KACE are saving tens of thousands of dollars a year by automatically powering down Windows and Mac machines either on a schedule or based on system inactivity. Systems can be put in any of a number of power-saving states — for example, you can choose to power down only individual components (such as the hard drive or monitor) or to achieve maximum power savings by powering down the entire system. Pre-configured and ad hoc reporting makes it easy to demonstrate the resulting savings.

    For more information about how Dell KACE can help support digital learning at your school or college, be sure to read our whitepaper, “Solving Systems Management Challenges for Education.”

  • KACE Blog

    Three Ways to Address the Most Common IT Challenges faced by Education IT Professionals

    In my previous blog, I explained some of the significant systems management challenges facing educational institutions as they adopt more digital curricula to deliver a quality learning experience for their students. Without the right tools, these systems management challenges can quickly overwhelm even the most experienced IT staff.

    But many educational institutions have found a better way — they have streamlined endpoint management, improved uptime and reduced IT overhead by implementing Dell KACE. Here are three ways these solutions help educational institutions to increase efficiencies, cut costs and improve security, all while maximizing the student learning experience. (I’ll explain three more ways in my next blog post.)

    Automate the management of hardware and software assets

    First, the Dell KACE portfolio significantly eases the burden on IT by centralizing and automating a wide range of systems management and Windows workspace management tasks. For example, you can get detailed hardware and software inventory information for all your Windows, Mac and Linux systems, including desktops, notebooks, servers, printers and networking equipment such as routers and switches. It’s easy to generate the system-wide IT reports you need to prove your license and regulatory compliance.

    Dell KACE solutions also automate the administration, distribution and installation of virtually any application, service pack, update, hotfix or digital asset for Windows, Mac and Linux desktops, laptops and servers. Dell KACE helps you ensure that computer type, hardware, browser versions and operating systems are configured properly, and provides insight into whether you need to buy new hardware or upgrade bandwidth and operating systems to support digital learning. More broadly, Dell KACE makes it easy to manage Windows firewalls, connect to file servers, add and remove printers, manage shortcuts, manage Outlook profiles, configure internet browser settings and manage administrative privileges.

    Efficiently image computers for each new school term

    With manual approaches, imaging systems in preparation for each upcoming school term can take months. Dell KACE can slash that workload to weeks or even days by streamlining and automating the entire re-imaging process for both Windows and Mac platforms. You simply maintain a few thin gold master images, tailoring them for particular situations. Dell KACE deploys the images over the network, eliminating the need to visit each machine or bring them all to a central location. To reduce bandwidth use and speed deployment, you can create virtual deployment appliances at remote locations and deploy images from them, and you can even deploy an image to multiple systems simultaneously.

    Quickly resolve issues

    Third, Dell KACE’s service desk eliminates the need for IT staff to physically visit machines to resolve issues, speeding resolution and enabling students, teachers and IT staff to be more productive. Plus, automatic notifications save students, faculty and staff time by keeping everyone informed about the status of their tickets.

    That’s not all!

    Be sure to read my next blog post, where I’ll explain three more ways Dell KACE can help support digital learning at your school or college. For more details about addressing the systems management challenges that educational institutions are facing today, be sure to read our whitepaper, “Solving Systems Management Challenges for Education.”

  • KACE Blog

    Overcoming the IT Barriers to Delivering Digital Curricula

    More and more educational institutions are turning to digital curricula to deliver a quality learning experience for their students. However, this strategy comes with a host of systems management challenges.

    First there’s the infrastructure, which is complex in multiple ways. Often, IT must manage several computer labs that are physically dispersed across multiple campus and satellite locations —labs that are often home to thousands of Windows, Apple Mac and Linux desktops, laptops and tablets, along with a fast-growing inventory of Chromebooks and other devices, all running a large number of different applications. Bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives add user-owned devices to the mix. How can IT keep track of all the hardware and software, ensure (and prove) licensing and regulatory compliance, and keep machines up to date and secure?

    Of course, the client hardware and applications are just the tip of the IT infrastructure iceberg. IT also needs to manage firewalls, connect to file servers, add and remove printers, and so on. Moreover, they need to be able to troubleshoot issues quickly to minimize disruptions to student learning, and keep everyone in the loop about the status of issues that affect them.

    Then there is security. Educational institutions need to be able to block access to objectionable and dangerous websites and prevent malware from wreaking havoc on systems. They also need to control the use of USB, storage and communication devices to prevent both the unauthorized removal of sensitive data from the network and the introduction of viruses and unapproved software onto the network. And they need to “watch the watchers,” by restricting administrative privileges and monitoring privileged access to critical systems.

    Finally, there are the costs. For example, providing systems to support digital curricula means more energy use. Educational institutions want to save energy and money by automatically turning computers off, either on schedule or after a period of inactivity. And to keep their IT staff lean, they need to automate and streamline as many of these systems management tasks as possible.

    Thousands of educational institutions around the globe have already discovered a great way to address all of these challenges:  Dell KACE. The Dell KACE appliances centralize and automate the entire range of systems management tasks for hardware and software assets from deployment to retirement, while Dell Desktop Authority provides centralized, granular control over all Windows desktops and applications. For example, one of the largest school districts in the United States, Seminole County Public Schools, is efficiently managing its 30,000 desktops and laptops with Dell KACE — and saving $100,000 over three years. At the other end of the spectrum, GEMS Education relies on Dell KACE to ensure that its 2,500 desktops, laptops and tablets are always ready for teachers and students — deploying new machines three times faster and satisfying teachers’ requests for new curricula in minutes.

    To learn more about how Dell KACE solutions have helped educational institutions like yours support better educational outcomes by streamlining endpoint management, improving up time and lowering IT overhead costs, take a look at our new white paper, “Solving Systems Management Challenges for Education.” It explains six specific ways Dell KACE solutions are helping thousands of educational institutions increase efficiency and reduce costs.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Want a more secure environment? Unified systems management can help

    The third platform of computing — social, mobile, cloud and big data — is here, and it has profound implications for systems management.

    Back in the days of mainframes (the first computing platform), systems management had to deal with millions of users and thousands of applications. Client/server and internet technologies (the second platform) increased those numbers to hundreds of millions of users and tens of thousands of apps.

    But even those numbers pale in comparison to today’s numbers. Today, we’re well on our way to fulfilling IDC’s prediction that by 2018, we will see 3.8 billion mobile users, 40 billion devices (five per person!) and 24 zetabytes of data. How can organizations maintain security and compliance in this new reality? Yesterday’s systems management won’t cut it.

    Users are already demanding that technology at work match the unrelenting innovation they experience in their personal lives, including ever more powerful laptops, dizzyingly high-speed wireless networks, ubiquitous VPNs and, especially, choice — choice about which devices to use and where, when and how to get work done. Armed primarily with manual processes and disparate point tools, IT departments are struggling to give employees the technologies and choices they require while maintaining governance and control.

    You need to rethink systems management and move towards a unified approach to meet the challenges of today’s more complex and ever growing environments.  That approach must ensure security and compliance for all connected systems and devices and also deliver the flexibility and scalability needed as users become even more mobile and the internet of things (IoT) continues to expand into the enterprise.

    On Tuesday, April 28, Dell will be hosting a webcast with IDC. At this webcast, you will learn what IDC research manager Robert Young has to say about improving security through more comprehensive systems management of your connected endpoints.  You will also find out more about how Dell Endpoint Systems Management (ESM), featuring Dell KACE appliances, can provide you with a unified anypoint systems management approach to manage and secure your enterprise into the future — efficiently and effectively.

    I hope you’ll join us.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Asset Management Without Agents — New Tech Brief

    Everybody in IT wants systems management. Traditionally, that has been accomplished by installing an agent on a managed system. However, not all systems or devices can support an agent. Some systems, such as electronic kiosks, ATMs or point-of-service devices are locked and simply do not allow installation of any additional software, including an agent from a systems management solution. And many smart, connected non-computer devices, such as printers or scanners, do not allow for installation of an agent.

    And, not everybody wants to install an agent on all of their systems. Justifiable or not, there is a perception in some IT organizations that the installation of a systems management agent can negatively impact performance. This results in reluctance to install agents on some systems, primarily on mission-critical production servers.

    How does your IT team come down on this issue? Solutions that provide agentless capabilities can expand the scope of your systems management to more devices without worrying about performance concerns.

    Asset Management Without Agents

    Once they have discovered your assets, most systems management products can perform inventory and tracking without an agent (“agentlessly”); discovering the assets without an agent, however, is another story.

    Agentless systems management is easier for organizations that are reluctant to install an agent yet still want complete asset lifecycle management: hardware and software inventory, reporting, service desk, etc. And, of course, you need agentless systems management if you want to discover and monitor non-computer assets like your printers, network devices and storage devices.

    Agentless management connects over SSH, Telnet, SNMP and other protocols to collect device information and report inventory. It’s useful if you’re running unusual OS versions/distributions, or if your organization simply prefers to manage its systems without installing an agent.

    A new comparison paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), called “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,” provides guidance on the agentless asset management capabilities of leading systems management solutions and is a valuable guide for any IT team planning to implement a new systems management product or upgrade an existing one. Download a free copy of the paper and have a look at page 5 of the PDF for a longer discussion about agent-based vs. agentless discovery and inventory management.

  • KACE Blog

    K2000 Deployment Appliance version 3.7 – Service Pack 1

    We are pleased to announce the immediate release of Service Pack 1 for the Dell KACE K2000 Deployment Appliance version 3.7. The K2000 Systems Deployment Appliance makes it easy to fulfill all of your organization’s systems provisioning needs with capabilities for inventory assessment, OS and image deployment, user state migration, system configuration, application installation, and recovery. The K2000 improves deployment efficiency and reliability while reducing deployment time and bandwidth consumption with features such as multicasting for Windows and Mac OS X and a powerful task engine that automates pre-installation and post-installation tasks.

    Service Pack 1 comprises the following enhancements:

    • Upgrades the operating system of the appliance to FreeBSD 10 for new appliances and virtual appliances
    • Adds support for hosting a virtual appliance on Hyper-V (RSA is not supported on Hyper-V)
    • Introduces a new strong password policy for the appliance
    • Improves the deployment workbench and the driver feed
    • Additional security, performance and stability improvements

    Service pack 1 is available for immediate download through the Dell Software support portal at:

    https://support.software.dell.com/k2000-systems-deployment-appliance/

    Best wishes!

  • Dell TechCenter

    Analyzing the Costs of Systems Lifecycle Management — New Tech Paper

    Are you tired of the manual effort to manage your IT environment or the redundancy of using multiple point solutions? Are the risks of a security breach or the costs of lost productivity becoming too high to ignore? Is your existing systems management solution too complicated to use or too expensive to upgrade? Whether you are looking to invest in a systems lifecycle management solution for the first time or looking to replace your existing solution, be sure you consider all financial components.

    To continue my series of posts on “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,”  a new comparison paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), I want to highlight the Financial Comparison section of the paper. It shows you not only the dollars you’ll spend on the solution itself, but also the other costs involved in executing a successful systems lifecycle management implementation.

    You’ll need to take several types of costs into account:

    • Pricing model — This includes the list price, which varies from one-size-fits-all to graduated pricing tailored to the size of your organization. It also includes the annual maintenance costs to keep the product up to date.
    • Infrastructure costs — How much additional hardware and software will you need to support your systems lifecycle management solution? This too varies widely from solution to solution, with the number of server-plus-OS configurations, client access licenses, database licenses and maintenance contracts you have to put in place.
    • Operational and training cost — Systems lifecycle management products that require more infrastructure will almost certainly require more people to administer that infrastructure. How many more people will you need to add to your IT staff? What will it cost to train them? Is there a way to get around adding staff?
    • Non-computer device support — With more smart, non-computer devices connecting to your network, lifecycle management now extends beyond PCs and servers to devices like printers, projectors, scanners and even universal power supplies. If you choose a product that supports those devices, your cost calculations will have to include them as well.

    For each of these costs, the paper builds out a total implementation cost based on size of organization, number of servers, length of maintenance contract, number of locations and other variables. It’s easy to follow and it’s designed to help you pencil out your own costs.

    Get your free copy of “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management” and have a look at pages 14 through 18 in the PDF for EMA’s detailed cost comparison of four products, including Dell KACE Appliances.

  • Dell TechCenter

    A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management — Unifying Your View of the Environment

    You really can achieve a single view of your entire connected environment.

    Throughout this series of posts I’ve emphasized that full control with a single, overall view is the promised land for systems management in the age of mobility, BYOD and the Internet of Things (IoT). It’s the only way you can keep the corporate data on your users’ personally owned smartphones, tablets and PCs as secure as the datat on your corporate-owned computers and servers, while also managing a host of new, network-connected, non-computer devices.

    The combination of the KACE K1000 Systems Management Appliance and Dell Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) can help you reach the promised land of anypoint systems management without the patchwork of point solutions you’ve likely accumulated. As shown in the diagram, the Dell KACE K1000, through its integration with Dell EMM, provides you with a single, integrated view of your entire environment – corporate-owned devices as well as secure workspaces:

    1. Systems management of traditional devices like desktop PCs, laptops, Macs and servers, as well as network-connected non-computer devices with the K1000
    2. Systems management of all mobile devices, corporate-owned as well as BYOD, by EMM with integration of all asset data into the K1000
    3. Systems management of the secure workspaces within BYO PCs

    Did we leave any devices out? We don’t think so. The Dell KACE-Dell EMM solution gives IT administrators the control and insight they need, while giving users the privacy they want and the freedom to be productive using their own devices.

    Next steps

    Once you’ve read Part 2 of our e-book, “A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management,” you’ll want to see a live web demo of the Dell KACE K1000 Management Appliance and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solution. You can also take your own tour and interact with a live KACE K Series Appliance in our Demo Sandbox.

  • Dell TechCenter

    Effective Systems Management in a Multi-Platform World — New Tech Brief

    If variety is the spice of life, then why does it cause such headaches for IT?

    Most IT administrators walk into heterogeneous computing environments every day knowing they’ll have to manage computers and servers running several flavors of Windows, Mac OS X, UNIX, Linux and, more recently, Chrome OS. Efficiently managing such multi-platform environments is not easy. Tasks like keeping track of all hardware and software, making sure you are in compliance with applicable regulations and licensing agreements, ensuring security, and providing exceptional support become increasingly difficult as your environment becomes more complex.

    Systems management with multiple operating systems

    In my last post I introduced “Best Practices in Lifecycle Management,” a new position paper from Enterprise Management Associates, Inc. (EMA), and outlined the many IT disciplines that lifecycle management covers, if you’re doing it correctly.

    Strong support for heterogeneous computing environments is a must-have in a systems management product, and the paper includes a section specifically identifying the OSes supported by each of the four most popular systems lifecycle management solutions on the market:

    • Dell KACE K1000 Systems Management and K2000 Systems Deployment Appliances
    • LANDESK Management Suite 9.6 SP1
    • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager (SCCM)
    • Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite (CMS) 7.5 SP1

    If you spend your workday managing a multi-platform environment, then you’ll find EMA’s checklist a valuable resource in preparing for your next investment in a systems lifecycle management product.

    Get a free copy of the tech paper and have a look at the section “Heterogeneous Support” on page 5 of the PDF.

  • Dell TechCenter

    A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management — Balancing Privacy and Productivity

    How are you keeping your end users happy and productive in the age of mobility and BYOD?

    In my last post, I described the Dell KACE-Dell Enterprise Mobility Management combination for bringing all of your organization’s traditional, mobile and BYO devices under one umbrella in a single systems management product.

    “That’s all right for the devices,” you say, “but what about the people using them? How does Dell KACE-Dell EMM deal with issues of privacy and productivity?”

    Fair enough. After all, what good is it to address IT’s concerns for tracking and managing all connected devices if it only leads to resistance among users worried about privacy on their personally owned devices?

    Balancing privacy and productivity

    Don’t forget that the main reason for putting all your blood, sweat and tears into a BYOD initiative is that users can be more productive when they use their own devices. The freedom to use the corporate network as productively as possible lets users take advantage of the apps, devices and means of communication they know best. But in the same way that users expect the organization to respect personal privacy, they also expect it to respect the privacy of personal data on their own devices.

    The balance, then, is to separate business and personal use clearly and securely right on the device. The Dell KACE-Dell EMM combination for anypoint systems management strikes that balance with the Dell Mobile Workspace app that users install on their own smartphone or tablet and the Dell Desktop Workspace application for their BYO laptop. Other than installing the secure workspace on their personal device, where they can securely access corporate resources and do their work, users don’t see any difference in their devices. IT has access only to the workspaces on their personal devices and users can be assured that personal apps and data are safely partitioned and completely inaccessible by IT. Workspaces also assure IT of the same level of security desired for corporate-owned assets, with features like encryption, secure remote access, firewall and prevention of data loss for the corporate information residing within the workspace on a user-owned device.

    In my next post I’ll have more details on how anypoint systems management looks from the IT perspective, so stay tuned. Meanwhile, have a look through Part 2 of our new e-book, “A Single Approach to Anypoint Systems Management,” right now.