Tracking Bigfoot Across the Enterprise

I love Group Policy—really, I do. But it's a technology that can turn the most confident of IT pros into a sodden zombie curled into a fetal position beneath his office chair. As more companies dive into Group Policy, the possibility of a single admin accidentally wreaking havoc increases. Sometimes finding the person who screwed up the system is easy—you just look in the mirror or listen across the cubicle walls for the sound of wailing or for that single, one-syllable word, quietly uttered. Other times it's as difficult as finding the elusive Bigfoot. Rishi Bhargava and I recently discussed the issue of tracking changes, especially when it comes to Group Policy. He's at Solidcore Systems, a provider of real-time change-control solutions.

“People haven’t opened tickets to make Group Policy changes—it’s not standard operating procedure,” Bhargava, the director of product management, says. "But now we’re seeing that need for standardization. What should be the policies and standards? We don’t focus there. Microsoft should say ‘this is how the policy should be.’ We are all about tracking change.”

To that end, Solidcore offers Solidcore S3 Control. The solution consists of two parts: a module for real-time tracking and validation that you install on the endpoints you wish to control and a central console for single-point administration and monitoring of systems.

The need for compliance is driving Solidcore customers to manage change better, as is the need to standardize IT functions, Bharghava says. ITIL has also affected Solidcore’s business in significant ways: “Customers need to define process and have control of processes—but you don’t know if people are following your processes. That’s where we come in.”

Solidcore S3 Control was created with three functions in mind, Bhargava says: visibility, accountability, and enforcement. Visibility means tracking changes made in real-time to software, servers, network devices, databases, objects in Active Directory, and to Group Policy. Solidcore S3 Control does this at a detailed level—tracking what changes and when, then aggregating the trail of these changes at a central location for reporting. A search interface is built in so you can check changes made by user, by type, and by time. It maps changes to your change process flow, providing accountability, and finally, it prevents changes, providing enforcement.

The company’s footprint is big in the change management and change tracking arena, Bhargava says. “Our advantage is our solution is broad. Our customers want comprehensive solutions.” Solidcore S3 Control supports Windows and Linux OSs, and Sybase and Microsoft SQL Server databases. To learn more, visit the Web site at http://solidcore.com.

TAGS: Windows 8
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