Keeping mobile devices patched and protected -- and making it safer for enterprise employees to work on the Web -- is giving IT admins plenty of headaches. Fiberlink Communications is offering an aspirin, of sorts, with a new cloud-based patch management service.
Dubbed MaaS360 Patched Management from the Cloud Service, the product works to mitigate the risks of the mobile, Internet-connected workforce by streamlining management and deployment of security patches to PCs, laptops, and mobile devices that connect to external wireless networks. The new service promises to protect against data breaches while battling the trend toward inflating help desk costs (along with slowed employee productivity).
“More than ever, patch management is a critical part of IT operations. Enterprises cannot just rely on Microsoft’s monthly patch updates for their entire patch maintenance strategy,” says John Nielsen, a product manager at Fiberlink. Nielsen says the service also covers common applications from vendors like Apple, Adobe and Sun.
The case for cloud-based patch deployment
IT administrators are already aware of how dangerous it is not to keep security software and patches up to date, but Fiberlink is nonetheless hammering home the message about the perils of inadequate patch management because it sees a disconnect between the knowledge of the danger and actual IT practices.
At issue may be enterprise IT policies that only focus on operating system patches and fail to take into account Java, QuickTime and other common apps in the enterprise today. But when malware infects those applications, it can send a ripple throughout the enterprise. Fiberlink is pointing to industry research to bolster its case for keeping software and patches current.
For example, the Ponemon Institute reports that the cost of a data breach increased to $6.75 million in 2009. And the Quant Patch Management Survey reveals that 50 percent of enterprises do not have a formal patch-management process, 54 percent do not measure compliance with patch-management policies and 68 percent do not track patch time-to-deployment. MaaS360 in action
Fiberlink is aiming to make it so convenient to keep systems and software up to date with the MaaS360 Patch Management from the Cloud Service that the enterprise will take notice. The service not only tracks and pushes patches for operating systems, applications and vulnerabilities, it also uses analysis techniques to make sure the patches are applied properly and that all files are current. The service offers up reporting and analytics so IT admins can monitor what is going on.
“Prior to MaaS360 we had to use four different consoles to check the AV, firewall and patch compliance of our corporate and remote users,” says Bill Dawson, Technical Services Manager, Mizuno USA. “The MaaS360 portal brings all that data together so we can quickly assess our compliance level and zoom in on problem areas with the drill-down function. For the first time in my memory we don't have to jump through hoops to track our software.”