“With great power, comes great responsibility.” I heard that in a movie once. This is a quote that Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager Admins know all too well.
Configuration Manager has a lot of power to manage a company’s servers and workstations from a central point. Gone are the days of carrying around discs to put an OS or application on a workstation or server. Also having to deal with multiple versions of multiple Operating Systems at multiple patch levels (if any). Then being told by the boss right before budget time, “Go forth and view the land and tell me everything we have, where it is, and who is using it.” With my Console, I can send out standardized images and applications from the comfort of my ergonomic chair and pull information from any of several hundred reports.
That’s the great power.
The great responsibility comes from the fact that if I am not paying attention, I can literally bring down every server, workstation, ATM, and/or slot machine (many ATMs and slots use Windows…fun fact) in my company from that same comfortable ergonomic chair. Its happened with SCCM before. There are career-ending horror stories (Google it). So, SCCM Admins must be on the ball and careful as the ultimate accountability for any mishaps with the system lies exclusively with them.
So, when the Service Desk Manager comes by and asks if we can deploy the Configuration Manager Console to his or her team because they need to get response times down and don’t want to wait for me to deploy an app or get them info on a computer, I understand where they are coming from. I was there once. However, there’s no way I am giving out that Console willingly. Setting up RBAC so that a Service Desk person doesn’t re-image the Domain Controllers isn’t a lot of fun. And if anything goes wrong, do they hammer the Service Desk person? No, they don’t. The torches and pitchforks are all aimed at….
Giving the console out to anybody who isn’t a trained Configuration Manager Admin keeps people like me awake at night.
But the need is still valid and Cireson has answered the call with Control Center. The Control Center is a web-based Portal that SCCM Admins can provide to other levels of IT so that they can utilize the power and utility of Configuration Manager (and then some) to make their day-to-day lives more productive. However, the Admin has the ability to easily limit and target that power and utility so that these Analysts can do only what the need to, only to the users and computers they should access, keeping the rest of the company safe and allowing the Admins to sleep better.
Here are some of the key benefits and features of the Cireson Control Center.
The Control Center is a web-based Portal that is easily installed, configured, and hosted. No more deployment of the Configuration Manager Console. Access from anywhere in the company using Windows authentication.
Power and Utility with Remote Manage
Information can be at your fingertips. You can give your Analysts the ability to access computer data such as:
- Current health status
- Network information
- Hardware information
- Installed Applications
- Installed & available Software Updates
- Currently running processes
- Current status of services
- Status of Software and Task Sequence deployments
- Primary User information (if you are utilizing UDA)
They can access user data such as:
- Active Directory information
- Primary Device information
- Status of User-based Software Deployments
You can also provide access to any or all of the hundreds of out-of-the-box ConfigMgr SSRS Reports that you find relevant to the Analysts’ job responsibilities and, if that isn’t enough, export the results of views directly to Excel or PDF!
And that’s just information. You can also provide Analysts the access to perform the following functions on computers remotely:
- Deploy Applications, Software, and Task Sequences
- Initiate Config Man Client actions such as Heartbeat DDR, get client policy updates and hardware and software inventory cycles
- Reboot or shut down
- Create a PowerShell remote session
- RDP or initiate a Config Man Remote Control session
- Repair or uninstall the ConfigMan client or WMI
- Clear or clone app deployments
- Add or remove computers from Collections
- Terminate processes or stop and start Windows services
- Add or remove Primary Users
- Add and configure MDT roles
- Create and manage Applications, Software, or Task Sequences
- Add, pre-register, or import computers into Config Man
For End Users, you can give Analysts the capability to:
- Initiate user-based application deployments
- Reset or unlock their AD accounts and passwords
- Manage their primary devices
Not only does the Cireson Control Center integrate with Configuration Manager but it can also integrate with MDT. You also have the ability to link to External Tools so that you can initiate action on other systems and pass in data, such as creating an Incident or Change Request for a computer.
Peace of Mind
As a Configuration Manager Administrator, the Control Center will give you the ability to provide the power and utility with mitigated risk. Access to the data and actions above are easily scoped to Analyst role via Active Director group membership. You have the power to limit what computers, users, and software that a group of Analysts can even see in their Portal using any criteria that makes sense for your organization. You can make it so that there is no possible way the someone could accidentally push and application or OS to a server or collection.
The result for an Analyst group such as Service Desk could be…
You can also provide Analysts templates so that they do not have to remember what settings go with which deployments. There are even templates for adding Applications and Task Sequences to Config Man through the Portal as well. We help you take the guess work out and keep the amount of training required for an Analyst to use the Portal to a minimum. Easy training and offloading tasks will help you be more productive in your day as well and that is money.
The fact of the matter is… the Configuration Manager Console was designed for Admins, not Analysts. Being able to offer a safe, intuitive, and easily accessible alternative will allow you to make your Service Desk Manager’s day and maybe your average work day, a bit more peaceful.