BigFix patches automatically

Several government resellers are offering network security products that automatically patch vulnerable gaps or summarize the gaps in real time.

Unisys Corp. and GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va., have partnered with BigFix Inc. of Emeryville, Calif., to resell its enterprise patch management software, which automatically downloads and installs needed patches or updates on networked clients without requiring attention by an administrator.

A Unisys spokeswoman said the company is pursuing three contracts with federal agencies.

Scott Texeira, director of business development for BigFix, said government is 'a key area of interest for us.' He said an administrator installs the BigFix Enterprise Suite from the Web or a CD-ROM, setting up a BigFix console. From there, a download wizard installs client software to run in background on networked users' systems.

Finger on the pulse

The console shows each system's software and hardware characteristics and which users are logged on. BigFix Enterprise Suite Server also can send the relevant updates, called Fixlet messages, to the administrator's console for approval before applying them.

BigFix Enterprise Suite 2.0 currently patches Microsoft Corp., Network Associates' McAfee and Symantec Corp. products. Texeira said he expects the suite to have Adobe Systems Inc., Macromedia Inc. and Mac OS software coverage soon. BigFix costs about $25 per seat for 1,000 seats, discounted 10 percent to federal buyers.

Meanwhile, Intellitactics of Bethesda, Md., has released Network Security Manager 4.0, which is resold by Government Technology Solutions Inc. of Shingle Springs, Calif.

The Intellitactics software graphically displays network vulnerabilities by scanning incoming security data from each network location and prioritizing it, potentially revealing an attack or patterns of attack in real time.

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