Client management software saves money, eases the pain of routine management [Symantec]

Most IT people who deal with desktops spend much of their time doing drudge work. Jobs like tracking software licenses and assets, and making sure systems have the latest patches aren’t difficult, but they can eat up an inordinate amount of time and money and turn administrators into zombies. This is why support and maintenance costs represent nearly 80 percent of the cost of owning a client system.

One way to reclaim that time is by deploying Symantec Client Management Suite (CMS). This suite tracks what’s happening on enterprise desktops and makes it easy to make changes, install new software, keep control of licenses, and help with a host of other jobs.

A CMS solution, like Symantec’s Client Management Suite, does these tasks and many others through a central web-based interface.

One of the most important jobs the Symantec CMS manages is simply to keep track of all your hardware and software. The basis of managing all your enterprise clients is knowing how many you have, what their configuration is and where they’re all located. Having up-to-date inventories of all hardware and software and their configurations lets you spot security holes and accurately assess hardware and software needs. Like most of the other things a CMS does, you can do these jobs by hand, but like many of the other CMS functions doing it by hand is time-consuming and error prone.

A closely related chore is making sure you have enough software licenses and no more. If you are using more copies of software than you have licenses for you risk legal trouble and negative publicity, if you have unused licenses you’re wasting money.

CMS can maintain a current record of your license status for all your applications and operating systems and lets you see at a glance which licenses you have, who is using them (if anyone)  and things like contract data associated with those licenses.

CMS helps speed up deploying new software and patches. According to Gartner, CMS can reduce the costs associated with these function by as much as 86 percent. Typically a CMS system will contain remote control features which will speed up deployments and migrations while reducing the chances of a failed deployment. In addition to saving you money and easing the IT staff’s job, an effective CMS also reduces downtime and disruption for the people using the client systems.

It also maintains a database of the settings for each desktop, along with other data. With this “personality” available for each user, it is much easier to configure new deployments. Along with remote-control features it also helps handle support calls. The technician can see at a glance what configuration the user has, as well as what software and version of the operating system.

Finally, CMS provides a unified set of tools to handle all these tasks, replacing ad hoc collections trying to do the same job. CMS is broad enough to handle all the client devices in the enterprise, including desktops, notebooks, handhelds and other devices.

About Tom Vincent

Tom manages the Security Presales Technical Architect team. He specializes in security and endpoint management, also having managed Symantec security and Altiris.