PC and MAC Client Management
The SOM Office of Information Services uses a Microsoft application called System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to ensure systems automatically get the latest updates, systems are inventoried, and to deploy applications to systems. Keeping systems up-to-date with manufactures updates is a UMB mandate. More information on this policy can be found here: UMB IT Patch Managment Policy
To learn more about systems updates using SCCM, please click here: System Updates via SCCM
To learn more about application deployment using SCCM, please click here: Application Deployment via SCCM
Microsoft SCCM FAQ
What is Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager?
System Center Configuration manager, the flagship systems management product from Microsoft, is a comprehensive management solution for computer systems utilizing Microsoft Windows operating systems and MAC operating systems. With Configuration Manager, IT technicians proactively manage the entire lifecycle of all devices. This includes deploying and maintaining systems and software, responding to security threats, distributing settings, and analyzing inventory data.
If you would like to learn more about Configuration Manager, please visit the Microsoft website.
What benefits does a client receive from Configuration Manager?
- Reliability: Your device will quickly receive software updates and patches with little to no interaction on your part.
- Time Efficiency: You will stay more productive as deployment and updating processes run in the background, freeing up more time for teaching, research and management.
- Flexibility: You can choose when and where to install new software or run maintenance on your device through Self-service portals.
- Security: IT Technicians will manage the security of your machine so you don't have to. You can rest assured that software patches, antivirus protection, and firewalls are well maintained.
- Confidentiality: Your data and files will remain confidential; servers also keep full audit logs of any actions performed by technicians.
- Compliance: Your device will always be in compliance with federal laws governing requirements for research, clinical, or student data on University computers.
How does Configuration Manager work?
The Configuration Manager infrastructure consists of high-performance servers which provide a database of computer information and data storage for programs, applications, and operating system images for deployment to end-user computers. Configuration Manager utilizes a small software utility known as an "agent" to communicate with the servers. This agent inventories hardware specifications, software installation information and provides for the automated installation of software updates and security patches. Included with the agent is another application called "Software Center", which will be described below.
All client/server communication is encrypted by a certificate pair configured when the agent is installed.
What information does Configuration Manager collect?
Configuration Manager has been customized to collect only the data needed to support computers. This information includes:
- Hardware Specifications
- Installed Applications & Usage
- Services Running
- Available Software Updates
- Local User Accounts and Login/Logout Timestamps
- Security Status (Firewall, SSH, etc)
- Connected Peripheral Devices
No personal information is collected, such as the contents or names of personal files (documents, email, etc) or any browsing history.
How is the Configuration Manager agent installed?
Your IT support group can enroll your machine in most cases. A quick desktop visit may required in some circumstances.
How do I uninstall Configuration Manager from my device?
Clients who wish to remove their device from Configuration Manager should contact their IT support group for assistance.
What devices does Configuration Manager support?
Generally, System Center Configuration Manager supports all recent versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016. For more information, please see the SCCM Compatibility list.
Is my device enrolled in Configuration Manager?
To find out if your machine is enrolled, look for the Configuration Manager object found in the Windows Control Panel. Additionally, you may look for a Configuration Manager category in your Windows start menu or contact your IT support group for assistance.
What is Software Center?
The Software Center application is similar to a mobile device app store (such as Google Play or the Apple App Store), but it provides customized content for campus machines. This content includes access to campus approved software, maintenance task scheduling, support options, and other documentation. The Software Center gives clients the flexibility of choosing what to install and when to install it.
There is also a web portal called "SOM Apps" which will have additional software titles available for download such as web browsers, plugins and free-to-use applications.
The Software Center is managed and maintained by SOM Office of Information Services. If you would like to see something added, please submit a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can I connect to Software Center when I am off-campus?
At this time, for Software Center to function, the device must be on a campus network, or connected to the SOM VPN. In the near future, access to the Software Center will be available on campus without the need of connecting to the SOM VPN.
What changes does the installation of Configuration Manager make to a PC or MAC?
Configuration Manager installs the agent to your PC or MAC. The agent runs in the background and will not interfere with the operation of your computer. Additionally, Configuration Manager installs the Software Center application and the Configuration Manager control panel object.
How will software be installed on my computer?
Most software installations will be initiated by clients through the Software Center application. Your IT support group may also push software as needed/requested. SOM IS will not distribute software unless requested to do so by the client or department IT staff. You may also have access to the SOM Apps web portal which will allow you to initiate an "on-demand" installation of common, non-SOM licensed software titles such as web browsers and plugins as mentioned above.
Will I still have Administrative access to my PC?
There will be no automatic changes to the privileges of your user account by enrolling in Configuration Manager. Your IT support group will contact you if changes are to be made.
What policies are enforced?
At this time there are no policies that are automatically enforced system wide by SOM IS.
What if automatic updates via SCCM may abort a process running on a machine and cause it to fail (i.e. a machine running a sample analysis for multiple days)?
You may request an exemption from automatic SCCM updates for a machine(s) by accessing the following form and submitting the needed information: Machine Updates Exemption App
You will receive an email after review of your submission of this form stating whether the exemption has been granted or denied. Note, if granted, this still means that the machine must be updated manually by a system owner at an appropriate date/time each month to be in compliance with the UMB IT Patch Management Policy.
What if I have other questions?
For more information please contact the SOM Office of Information Services HelpDesk at email@example.com or 410-706-3998.