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5/21/2008
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Rolling Review: Patch Up Your Windows

Kaseya targets Microsoft shops that need reliable patch management but are on tight budgets.

THE UPSHOT
CLAIM:  Kaseya is an easy-to-use, inexpensive patch management application that will let you deploy critical application patches quickly and securely.

CONTEXT:  This Rolling Review will rate patch management tools on breadth of platforms supported, testing and staging capabilities, reporting, the ability to roll back, and more. Kaseya is an agent-based patch offering that focuses on Windows.

CREDIBILITY:  While Kaseya was by far the easiest to use, it has limited OS support and initial agent configuration is cumbersome. That said, the product is aggressively priced, boasts a good feature set, and should appeal to Windows shops.

Kaseya's Managed Services Edition 2008 provides enterprise patch management functionality for IT managers on a limited budget. It offers many features usually seen on higher-end products, including bandwidth throttling, rollback options, and endpoint configuration management.

Kaseya performs well and offers the ability to regulate Windows Update behavior, a feature not found in more expensive products. The suite is agent-based and administered though a Web-based user interface that's surprisingly easy to use. Kaseya is a great fit for all-Windows IT shops that are looking for a policy-based patching process.

Kaseya is extremely secure. All network transactions are encrypted, and no ports are opened for any component. File transfers to clients are always dynamically compressed, and there's a per-client option for bandwidth throttling. You can also configure endpoints to distribute patches to other computers. This can ease bandwidth consumption across your network if set up efficiently.

Kaseya patches all Windows versions and Mac OS X v10.3.9 and above. Through its ability to run scripts on clients, it also can be configured to deploy patches that are not natively supported, such as a custom app that wouldn't have a commercially distributed patch.

Administrators can assign policies to groups of computers and use automated updates to ensure that they stay in compliance with the policies.

Kaseya's implementation of reporting, rollback, and new patch awareness is on par with the other products we've reviewed.

Kaseya's user interface is the best of all the patch management products we've seen. It's clean and easy to use. The sleek, Web-based user interface lets administrators control every aspect of the application.

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