Lumension Security's PatchLink Update is an agent-based patch manager that plays well with heterogeneous operating systems. Unlike the first product we reviewed, Shavlik NetChk Protect, which supported only Microsoft environments, PatchLink Update works with Mac OS X, Unix, Linux, Solaris and VMware as well as Windows. In addition, it can protect a number of applications supported on these platforms, including Adobe Flash, antivirus products and alternative Web-browsers like Firefox.
If, like us, you're hesitant about deploying agents, you'll appreciate PatchLink's Agent Management Center, a central interface that helps with agent administration and deployment. PatchLink also integrates with Active Directory for dynamic creation of groups with cascading assignments of baselines, agent policy and user permissions. The product's inventory management feature allows for identifying and reporting on software, hardware and services, while user policy features enable some administration to be delegated while still maintaining security. The system's patch repository is updated daily; after patches are tested by Lumension, they're packaged and delivered securely to the application.
Finally, the reporting component offers flexible charts and graphs for analyzing vulnerabilities, deployment status, agents and baseline compliance. Notifications via e-mail are available for just about any type of event.
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