Shavlik eases Microsoft patch management

Shavlik Technologies LLC, the company which has developed a pair of security and patch management tools for Microsoft Corp., announced the newest update to its HFNetChkPro product Wednesday, adding more real-time features and information.

HFNetChkPro is the commercial, more full-featured version of the HFNetChk product distributed by Microsoft to allow administrators to inspect PCs and other systems on their networks to ensure that they have the most up-to-date security patches. Shavlik, which is based in St. Paul, Minnesota, also provides the technology used in the Microsoft Baseline Security Analyzer.

HFNetChkPro allows administrators to scan systems and groups of systems to check for up-to-date and improperly configured patches. New or needed patches can then be downloaded by the administrator and pushed out to the machines that need them, or scheduled for later downloading and patching. Multiple patches can be applied to the same system with only one reboot using HFNetChkPro.

The new version of HFNetChk Pro, version 3.8, adds realtime inspection and installation of patches, new options for scheduling patch downloads and application, and better reporting and management features, Shavlik said in a statement. The new version also comes equipped with a patch installation database that includes information on and descriptions of patches from Microsoft, as well as verification that the patches being downloaded are actually coming from Microsoft, the company said.

The software can be used to scan and patch systems running Windows NT/2000/XP, SQL Server 7.0 and 2000, Internet Information Services 4 and 5, Exchange Server 5.5 and 2000 and Internet Explorer 5.0 and up, Shavlik said.

The new version, which is immediately available, costs US$1,123 for one to 50 managed PCs, with one managed PC able scan up to 10,000 systems.

Along with upgrading its software, Shavlik also upgraded its staff Monday, when it announced the hiring of Eric Schultze as executive director of research and development. Schultze had previously worked at Microsoft as the senior technologist for the Security Strategies Group, working on security enhancements to products and patch management.

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