Managing Windows 10 Branch Upgrades with LANDESK Part 2

Managing-Windows-10-Updates

In the previous article, I explore the first part of how LANDESK can help with Windows 10 branch upgrades through pre-upgrade education and communications. In this the second part, I will discuss how LANDESK solutions manage Windows 10 branch upgrades with the solution preparation, rollout, and issue management.

Solution Preparation

  • Upgrade Readiness: The large size of branch upgrades elevates the need to monitor free disk space. Using LANDESK Management Suite’s inventory capabilities, one can periodically review a report to see who is running out of space.

 12 - Free Disk Space

If a manual report is a hassle, alerts can also be generated to automatically prompt for action.

Free Disk Space Alerts

  • Targeting: LANDESK Patch Manager will inventory hardware, software, branch types (Current Branch or Current Branch for Business), and Active Directory users and groups to use in targeting of branch upgrades. This targeting becomes particularly valuable when used for staged rollouts (see more in next section).
  • Distribution: With the need to push large upgrade files, a robust software distribution capability is a must. LANDESK Patch Manager has numerous capabilities for distributing branch upgrades efficiently across your network including:
    • Targeted multicasting
    • Peer-to-peer downloading
    • Bandwidth throttling
    • Distribution servers
    • Checkpoint restart
  • Off-Network Systems: How many of your enterprise clients are off the corporate network at any given time? With so many employees who work remotely or travel, the LANDESK Cloud Services Appliance enables management of systems without a VPN. Using a virtual or physical appliance, the Cloud Services Appliance can enable branch upgrades to occur anywhere.

Upgrade Rollout with LANDESK Patch Manager

Having a methodical rollout process is critical in large enterprises. The version 2016 release of LANDESK Patch Manager includes a new capability, Rollout Projects, for systematically rolling out patches or branch upgrades. Rollout projects is ideal for automating the deployment and execution of branch upgrades to specific groups of computers in a specific order.

LANDESK Patch Manager Rollout Projects

As part of the automation, each step can have exit criteria before moving on. Such exit criteria include:

  • Minimum success rate of systems upgraded
  • Minimum duration of executing that step to give time to identify potential issues
  • Email approval if you need manual change control to proceed

These exit criteria enable the complex process of rolling out branch upgrades to proceed automatically, but with controls to prevent issues from spreading to the next phase.

Issue Management

Addressing service issues related to branch upgrades can be achieved with LANDESK Service Desk where incidents can be tracked, problems managed, and service levels measured. Unlike most service management tools, Service Desk’s integration with LANDESK Management Suite enables service management to include taking actions such as remote assistance when users need help with upgrade issues, system reimaging when upgrades go bad, or software upgrades to maintain compatibility with branch upgrades. This combination of capabilities comes together in LANDESK Workspaces for the IT Analyst where a user and their devices can be found and actions applied such as remote control or installation of software.

LANDESK Workspace - End User Assistance

Key Takeaways

As usual here are some key points to remember:

  • Windows 10 branch upgrades are complex and LANDESK helps automate this process
  • LANDESK Service Desk gives end to end service management before, during, and after the upgrades
  • LANDESK Patch Manager automates phased upgrades with network-sensitive distribution and intelligent targeting
  • LANDESK Management Suite helps prepare for upgrades and address issues should they arise

This concludes the discussion on branch upgrades. I will next proceed with a series of articles on patching in Windows 10.

Managing Windows 10 Branch Upgrades with LANDESK Part 1

Managing-Windows-10-Updates

In the last article, I finished the discussion on a Branch Upgrade Solution Architecture. Time to dive in and learn about managing Windows 10 branch upgrades with LANDESK solutions. As outlined, there are many elements of a solution architecture and I will proceed to map LANDESK products to that architecture.

Upgrade Education

As mentioned in previous articles, Windows 10 branch upgrades are disruptive. If someone has not experienced this before, they may do something stupid like powering off their computer in the middle of the upgrade process (never a good thing). A solid knowledge base article will go a long way to educate them. This is easily achieved in LANDESK Service Desk.

Here is a sample article you could use to communicate the upgrade process to users:

As you may be aware, Microsoft recently released an update for Windows 10 known as the Anniversary Update or version 1607. IT is currently testing this update and will begin rolling it out widely in December.

As with other Windows 10 updates, there will be disruption to your ability to work. IT is planning to launch the upgrade at noon when we expect you can step away from your computer. You will have the option to defer the upgrade if you fear it will be too disruptive to your work. We advise saving all documents and shutting down applications to minimize any potential loss of work.

When the upgrade begins, you will see the following screens. Do not power off your computer during any of the upgrade process.

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Confiugration Screen

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Updating Screen

Once the upgrade is complete, you will need to login and wait for some additional configuration to occur. You will see the following:

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Post Logon Screen 1

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Post Logon Screen 2

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Post Logon Screen 3

Windows 10 Branch Upgrade Post Logon Screen 1

Should you have any issues with the upgrade, please contact IT and we will promptly assist you.

Upgrade Communication

  • Pre-Upgrade Application Owners: Email is often the default method of communication, but there are other options. Using LANDESK Workspaces, application owners can be alerted to pending upgrades with a Notice Board message.

11 - Windows 10 Upgrade Notice

  • Pre-Upgrade End Users: The obvious solution is to send an email (or series of emails) with the information listed in the example knowledge base article. With the LANDESK End User Workspace, that information can be accessible anywhere: web, desktop, or mobile device. Putting the information everywhere will increase the likelihood of users knowing about the upgrade beforehand.
  • Upgrade Launch: LANDESK Patch Manager allows user notification before the download and\or before the execution of a branch upgrade. This can be a last minute opportunity to inform the users of the process that will ensue.
  • Post Upgrade: After an upgrade, users can submit issues or be notified of information via LANDESK End User Workspace.

11 - LANDESK Workspace Incident

In the next article I will cover the second half of this discussion on how LANDESK can help in managing Windows 10 branch upgrades.

Saving Time, Money and Your Network With LANDESK

IT teams are constantly on the hunt for ways to save their organizations time and money. LANDESK’s portfolio of products is doing just that and MORE for its customers. The key is consolidation.

LANDESK has listened and learned from what IT professionals have been asking for and, as a result, has developed a feature-rich line that is meeting and exceeding the needs of consumers.

Everything you need in one place

“We had several different platforms to accomplish a bunch of different tasks,” said Chris Frediani, senior support specialist at NEPC, LLC. “What we wanted to accomplish by implanting LANDESK was to consolidate all those different tools into just one suite of tools.”

That’s exactly what you get with LANDESK. All the tools you need to manage your entire network — nicely packaged into one customizable platform.

“We are more efficient as a team when we just have one platform with all of the tools that we use every day, readily available in one system,” he said.

It’s a new level of efficiency that isn’t just saving customers minutes or hours, they’re shaving days off formerly time-consuming tasks.

“Before, we had this kind of archaic method of making sure that all of our endpoints were patched and within compliance standards. It would take two days to get the patching process started,” said Frediani. “Now, what used to a be a two-day thing is a 15-minute thing once a month.”

Going beyond IT management

In addition to saving time, LANDESK’s clients say they’re now able to go outside the normal bounds of IT management.

“One of the main things we wanted to accomplish with LANDESK Service Desk was to become more efficient, to get our processes nailed down, and to start rolling it out to other areas (besides IT) within our organization,” said Mike Abranink, desktop support analyst for the City of Leduc, a busy suburb of Edmonton, Alberta.

Abranink pocketed time he would have normally wasted traveling from desktop to desktop and was able to impress his bosses at the same time.

“It has made my life as a desktop analyst easier. I don’t have to go out to my users as often, it makes the distribution of software easier, and it makes tracking for our executive and CIOs easier,” he said. “One of the main benefits is through the built-in reports in LDMS. I’ve been able to pull reports that demonstrate to our executive and to our managers that by remotely controlling a desktop, we actually save time and money.”

Security-focused

Our focus isn’t just on saving you time and money; security is our number one priority. LANDESK’s security solutions are constantly on the prowl for possible vulnerabilities that threaten to wreak havoc on your system.

“The problem that we were facing when we first considered LANDESK was that we didn’t know what we didn’t know,” said Nick Gehr, enterprise support manager for Aviall. “Once we got it up and running in our environment, the light that shined on in every corner — that we just had originally no sense of awareness around — we were able to take action upon those.”

The unknown can be detrimental to a network. LANDESK’s solutions are helping IT managers seek and destroy hidden threats and keep your system protected.

“We discovered a ton of devices in our environment that weren’t being managed at all — that we didn’t even know were there until we spun up LANDESK Management Suite and it pointed them out to us,” said Frediani. “What you can do with just a couple of application platforms like LDMS and LDSD is pretty incredible.”

Businesses, corporations, and even cities are using LANDESK products to streamline their workflow and tailor IT management to the ever-changing needs of users and administrators.

“Some of the problems we were facing that made us consider LANDESK were that we started with a very small, out-of-the-box solution for a ticketing system that wasn’t meeting our needs. It wasn’t customizable; it didn’t let us have a process flow in it,” said Abranink. “LANDESK Service Desk addressed all the needs we had as we grew and it has scalability and functionality in it that’s hard to find in other places.”

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Windows 10 – It’s Gaining Traction but Still Requires Patch’n

kid at the window

In August, 2015 Windows 10 was officially released. Supporting more than 200 million devices, it has already surpassed Windows 8 and continues to grow in popularity. How long before this new OS impacts your enterprise?

Let’s recap some of the good and bad that Windows 10 has given us.

On the good side:

  • Significantly faster
  • Very stable
  • Runs on existing Windows 7 hardware

Survey Results: The Role of Shadow IT in Your Organization


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We performed a survey this spring around the topic of Shadow IT. We asked a series of questions to which more than 275 respondents gave us answers. The respondents were mostly made up of people who manage or lead IT groups (70%), with a little more than half of the people (53%) being directors or department heads.

There were a few data points that were surprising. The first surprise is that we expected that corporate management would be keener on getting things done, even if it means turning to Shadow IT solutions. However, the data showed that participants were nearly split within the IT ranks as to viewing Shadow IT as either negative (50%) or positive (45%).  Meanwhile, the view of their management is far more negative with only 23% being positive on Shadow It and 69% seeing it as a negative.

Three Reasons ITAM Should be Part of Your Security Strategy (Part 1 of 2)

3 reason ITAMSeveral years ago, we purchased a home in the country. The biggest difference I noticed is how dark and quiet it is to live there. When alone in the house at night, I get spooked at the slightest sound, so I am considering a security system. I counted how many windows and doors need to be monitored. Knowing how many windows and doors I have is important information when installing a home security system. The most advanced security system in the world would not be able to protect me if I neglect to secure a single window or door.

In the context of IT security, the most technologically advanced security systems available today will not protect your data if a single device goes unnoticed and, as a result, unsecured. Companies spend a lot of money to protect the data on their networks and devices. The problem is that not every organization has a good strategy to track the devices holding their sensitive data.

Healthcare lags behind in keeping operating systems up to date

464404711While most industries have been able to migrate to newer operating systems, healthcare has been a laggard. With another Microsoft Windows XP Extended Support renewal on the horizon, the prospect of paying another $250,000 for another year is inevitable. Most organizations believe that as long as receive patch support they can maintain HIPAA compliance. Patch support for XP is dwindling. Just getting occasional patches doesn’t mean you are secure.

For an organization of 10,000+ nodes, migrations need to start now in order to avoid paying in 2016. Most consider Windows 7 the target upgrade due to its stability. However, Windows 10 is set to release this summer. Upgrading to an operating system, four revisions behind, may not be the best decision.

No longer a matter of if, but when, you embrace shadow IT

176217552At LANDESK, we make it our business to understand the changing landscape of enterprise IT. In that spirit, we commissioned a study by renowned industry analyst Forrester to gain a better understanding of the challenges presented by that landscape.

We know that shadow IT—the use of personal devices and cloud applications in lieu of official, company-sanctioned solutions—is presenting new challenges and opportunities for today’s workforce. But how is that challenge being met? How are the opportunities being embraced? With the help of Forrester, we have some answers to those questions.

Four Areas to Start Integrating ITAM Into IT Service Management (ITSM) – Part 2 of 2

As a child, I would often look at the toy section in my mother’s department store catalogs and I would imagine playing with the toys I would see in the pictures. As an adult, I still enjoy looking through a catalog; however, the toys have changed. Now I like to browse through electronics such as TVs, computer devices, and audio devices. With current technology, I can look at catalog items on my computer and, if I provide a credit card number, I can purchase an item directly from the catalog with the click of a button.

When consumers purchase an item directly from an internet site, a process is executed by the internet vendor. Usually, that process will authorize the purchase, verify the inventory, procure the item, provide information to a third party company for shipping and provide a status update via email to the customer.

PC’s, Macs and Mobile Devices Living Together in Harmony: UEM

UEMBlogI hooked up a big monitor to my Mac hoping to display something for my boss and a co-worker. It didn’t automatically jump to the right resolution, so I had to go into my Systems Preferences to set it up. That’s when my boss said, “It’s because you have a Mac.” He shot me a quick smirk and I knew he was just poking me for being a Mac guy. Then, he pulled out his Apple iPhone and proceeded to respond to an email, which made me smile.

That’s the way it is between Mac and PC people, we poke fun at each other and if anything goes wrong, someone will say, “It’s too bad you don’t have a Mac” or “That wouldn’t happen on a PC.” However, here are three things to consider as you look at managing multiple platforms and devices: