Source: IT Central Station
Atlantic.Net, a cloud computing and hosting service provider based in Orlando, Florida, has a diverse client base that spans from small businesses to enterprise-level customers in the education, biotech, pharma, government and healthcare sectors. Many of these clients have varying managed service levels and mandatory compliance requirements, including HIPAA, PCI, NIST, and ISO certifications, which in turn result in a range of patching support needs. Until recently, the underlying hardware was always Atlantic.Net’s responsibility and managing its entire infrastructure was an enormous task. Despite having largely automated processes, regular patching, system updates, application updates required a significant amount of administration and many hours by Atlantic.Net’s team. After evaluating several IT operations platforms, Atlantic.Net chose Automox as one of its central product offerings for server and patch management.
Brett A. Haines, Vice President at Atlantic.Net, Inc. shared his experience as an Automox client on IT Central Station.
Time as the Most Valuable Commodity
“The biggest improvement to our organization involves the reduction in its man-hours,” said Haines. “We've probably saved hundreds of hours.” Prior to its partnership with Automox, Atlantic.Net was hesitant to offer cloud patch management as a formal product. Now, however, Haines sees that, “effectively, the biggest improvement to our organization is time saved, because it can be daunting to have everything covered under one solution, especially an open-source solution.”
Atlantic.Net can easily measure the savings they have realized from switching to Automox. In Haines’s view, Automox has paid for itself. He explained that since the company established its relationship with Automox, they have been managing patches on five to seven times the number of servers than they had previously. He said, “There is no way we would have been able to do that and still keep it cost-effective. Initially the aggregate came out to about 20 hours per month in doing patch management through Automox, where in the past it was a full-time job for about two people.”
Haines continued, “This amounts to significant savings. We really need only one or two staff members in here depending on whether Microsoft or perhaps Ubuntu drops a large patch. The amount of manual labor required of an employee is very limited, which is nice.”
Automox's Price and Value
For Haines, “the pricing and licensing costs have been great for us. My advice to others who are evaluating or thinking of implementing Automox is to give it a shot. If a free trial is still available, definitely use it, because it makes life a lot easier.” Atlantic.Net believes that the most valuable feature is probably the interface because it saves on legwork by removing the entire manual processing from our side. He added, “From our point of view, the interface is clearly super simple to use and super simple to get up and running. It also makes it very easy to digest the data.”
Automox provides Atlantic.Net with the ability for everyone to see the same information at the same time. “When I look at the dashboard,” Haines remarked, “I can see how many are scheduled for updates, how many are already fully up to date, and how many need attention. I can see if there are any exceptions that my people put in for the customer. “
Haines is able to access the control panel and create different organizations. “This way, not everything has to be under one single interface and account. We can split it out as we see fit. That was something that we really wanted.”
Why Atlantic.Net Chose Automox
There were a number of reasons that Atlantic.net decided to switch to Automox. The company’s legacy systems were cumbersome and involved a long learning curve. There were a number of limitations in what could and could not be managed, and the ability to apply scheduling or updates was limited. “For certain OSes, even with the open source solution, you could not patch Windows and you could not patch certain Linux flavors with it,” Haines noted. “That is when we started looking at a real system to replace ours.”
Bonus: Automox's Cloud-Native Functionality and Scalability
Initially, the cloud-native aspect of the solution was not top of mind. Haines was not sold on that part of the package. ”We were not set on going with a cloud-native solution, but living in the cloud reduced – by two VMs – what we are able to do with our OS’s offerings. That made life that much easier for my people.” He added, “Retrospectively, it is a great feature to have. It saves us from worrying about the servers or about updating Automox. So, it makes a lot of sense to go cloud- native. With Automox, we have had no worries, no issues, zero complaints, and most important, no downtime issues.”
Another positive for the Atlantic.Net-Automox alliance is that “the scalability has been great, especially now that we can segment out large customers,” as Haines put it. He added that “Atlantic.Net has significant plans for integrating it into our cloud portal. We have begun implementation with the patching, and plan to offer it as a self-service model in our cloud portal.”
The Automox solution provides Atlantic.Net with all the visibility it needs, although it does not use the platform to manage laptops. “We only deal with what's inside data center walls and use it for our employees’ desktops along with the server side. It gives us complete visibility. While we don't have any macOS on here,” said Haines, ”the patch management definitely covers Windows, Linux, and even Unix. We love the overall patch management abilities. It's the main driver of why we adopted Automox, and it has definitely stood up to the test of time.”
Atlantic.Net has set priorities because, as Haines described, “It is absolutely important to us that it provides a cross-platform patch management across Windows and Linux endpoints. This was one of the driving factors and among the decision-making criteria for us. With Automox, the gamut is covered. That's what we want, that single pane of glass for patch management.”
To learn more about Automox on IT Central Station, visit https://www.itcentralstation.com/products/automox-reviews
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