Review: LANDesk Patch Manager

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This is an add-on module for the LANDesk Management Suite 8, which could explain why it needs at least five patch management-related components on each monitored machine.

This is an add-on module for the LANDesk Management Suite 8, which could explain why it needs at least five patch management-related components on each monitored machine. This might seem like overkill, but LANDesk components can be put together in numerous ways to allow individual administrators to build only the functionality they need.

When setting up the components, care had to be taken to ensure that vulnerabilities to be checked for had been specified in the administration console. If not, the new component would download the whole list of vulnerabilities and report on every one.

LANDesk uses Ecora's database of validated, tested and documented patches as its core information source. The background information is particularly rich and can be downloaded on demand or on a schedule. Patches and their associated vulnerability information do not have to be downloaded at the same time, giving the administrator the chance to weed out unwanted patches and save bandwidth.

Any patches that are considered unimportant can be removed from the display into a separate folder. This keeps them available if they are required, but the background information pages are not kept, so browsing in this section is limited to the vulnerability names.

The console can be used to give a vulnerability and patch-oriented view instead of the client and client group view. In this way, the number of machines affected can be instantly assessed when planning a deployment. After a network scan has been completed for a selected group of vulnerabilities, the administrator can right-click on a vulnerability name to trigger a menu that allows them to select an option to show all the affected clients.

The options for grouping systems, patches and vulnerabilities are incredibly wide. This could mean that a lot of time is spent setting up and resetting groups, but the ability to drag and drop items from one pane to another makes the job quick and easy. Use of the console is more intuitive after a mode of operation is selected.

For:

Information-rich and flexible options enable the software to fit with the administrator's preferred methodology.


Against:

Options could bewilder some users.


Verdict:

An excellent patch management module, but its flexibility may be its weakness. It takes time to become familiar with the features and this could slow implementation.

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