In this article, we have enlightened the essential Concepts like IBM Bigfix Introduction, BigFix Platforms, Architecture, Features, Benefits & Applications, etc. which will help you understand About IBM BigFix Tutorial.
IBM BigFix Platform is a multilayered platform that is an integral part of the Global Information Technology Infrastructure. It helps in the management of computers running on different operating systems. IBM BigFix is actually a dynamic and content-driven management system that itself allocates the work of IT infrastructure management to the managed device, i.e agents.
This platform can effectively handle up to 250,000 physical as well as virtual devices in a secure way on the public as well as a private network, which includes: smartphones, server computers, roaming laptops, point-of-sale devices, self-service kiosks, and an auto teller machine. IBM BigFix Platform supports various operating systems like Microsoft Windows, VMware ESX, Linux, macOS, Symbian, and Unix.
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Every business enterprise needs protection against security threats. One of the best ways of securing a business enterprise is applying better security to portholes, vulnerabilities points, and the endpoints which if left open may create a big network disaster. IBM BigFix is the most effective method for Endpoint security and critical business assets management.
IBM BigFix follows 3 principles as mentioned below:
Find it: Firstly, it will identify the endpoints which are not being managed properly, and after that by using real-time visibility, it will find out the errors.
Fix it: Once the issues are identified, it will apply the patches across different endpoints to fix the issues.
Secure it: Monitor and enforce security compliance with operational, regulatory, and security policies and respond back to the threats in a proactive manner.
IBM BigFix monitors every endpoint continuously to identify the issues and threats so that it can enforce compliance with operational, regulatory, and security policies. This solution works effectively even at remote locations with minimum bandwidth.
IBM BigFix platform is designed on the world’s biggest security portfolio to provide real-time security. It provides the clients with real-time updates of each endpoint present on the network.
Real-life issues you can fix through the IBM BigFix platform:
The BigFix Architecture allows the authenticated user to allocate the software patches and configuration settings in a faster and easier manner. To run the BigFix Architecture, a user must have a 64-bit Windows operating system with access to the BigFix server.
IBM Endpoint Architecture supports the following components:
Clients are also referred to agents which are installed on the different computers which users want to manage through IBM Endpoint Manager. Clients access the collection of Fixlet which identifies configuration errors, security loopholes, and other issues. After that, it deploys the corrective measures to fix issues that are received by the console via the server.
IBM Endpoint Manager allows the administrator to revert to screen prompts for actions that need input from users. The client can also encrypt communication to protect confidential information.
IBM Endpoint Manager server is the collection of the web server, database server, and application services, which is the backbone of IEM. It manages the information flow to and from the computer and saves outcomes in the IEM database.
The components of the server can work solely without any interference from the side of the administrator, it also includes web reporting through which the authenticated users can check all the details about the computer, actions, and vulnerabilities via a web browser.
It Improves the system efficiency by allowing the clients to send a download request to relay, instead of the server, which later sends a single request to the server for downloads. One relay can be connected to others to improve efficiency. A user can install relay software on any windows server on which the IEM client manager is installed.
It joins all the components together for providing a wide view of the system, which includes the different computers present in the network, along with their issues and corrective measures. IEM console allows the authenticated users to allocate the fixes to the affected computer without interrupting the other computers present in the network.
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Below are the features supported by the IBM BigFix platform:
A single intelligent agent: A single Intelligent agent helps to regularly monitor the endpoint states with respect to the policies mentioned, whether they are connected to the internet or not. It only uses 10 MB of RAM, thus easy to install and manage on different computers (also known as the client).
When the agent identifies that the target is out of compliance with a checklist or policy, it immediately notifies the server, starts the configured remediation process, and informs the server of task status. Most of the time, agents are able to operate without any user interference. But, if the user’s feedback is necessary, you can have the screen prompts.
A single console: With the help of a single console, you can effectively manage a particular solution you are using such as security configuration, endpoint protection, system lifecycle management, and vulnerability management.
If you are an operator having some specific privileges, a single console allows you to fix the problems of the specific computers over the network that require the solution without affecting the working entire network.
A single server: It manages the information flow to and from the particular client and saves the output in the database. It helps the operator in the maintenance of real-time visibility and allows the operator to have control over the different devices.
It also helps in managing the policy-based content. Content is shared in the form of messages which are referred to as Fixlet. Content Delivery Cloud-based service is used by the agents for updating the content on a regular basis as the agent is responsible for the content analysis and processing.
Optionally one or more relays: It helps in managing the policy content and distributed devices. A relay is referred to as the client and is responsible for taking all the actions necessary for protecting the host computer. Also, it provides the software download and content delivery to sub-relays. Instead of using the server.
Optionally, a secondary server: A Disaster Server Architecture (DSA) server can be used for replicating the server details for disaster recovery. In simple words, if the IBM BigFix server fails, then another similar server can take its place and perform all the functions.
Web reports: Web reports can help you to generate the graphs and charts of your data in the form of hardcopy. It also helps you to export the data to a database or spreadsheet for additional manipulation. With web reports, a user can maintain the audit trail of all the content activities performed in the network.
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IBM BigFix platform supports the following applications:
IBM BigFix lifecycle formerly referred to as IBM endpoint manager for lifecycle management.
You can use the IBM BigFix Lifecycle application to provide agent-based tools to the administrator. This tool provides the proper visibility to the endpoint states and also resolves the issues automatically. This application provides you with remote control capabilities that you can use to monitor the services and workstation in the deployment via a remote location.
This application also has capabilities like power management and server automation with the integration of two independent applications - IBM Endpoint Manager (for power management) and IBM Endpoint Manager (for server management).
IBM BigFix Patch formerly referred to as IBM Endpoint Manager for Patch Management
This application helps to provide an easy and automated patching process to the various distributed endpoints. With this application, you can effectively manage the software application patches and operating system.
IBM Endpoint Manager for Power Management
You can use this application for observing and managing the power usage over various computers present in the network. It also helps to manage the company conservation policies which you set through wizards, web reports, and dashboards. This application is capable of delivering amazing power management capabilities.
IBM BigFix Compliance formerly referred to as IBM Endpoint Manager for Security and Compliance
This application allows the users to secure the endpoints by fixing the problems and assure the operator that each security requirement is being met properly.
IBM BigFix Protection formerly referred to as IBM Endpoint Manager for Core Protection
This application can help users to perform real-time antimalware functions against the web threat, malware, spyware, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, etc. It uses security methods like web reputation, behavior monitoring, and a personal firewall for:
IBM BigFix Inventory formerly referred to as IBM Endpoint Manager for Software Use Analysis
This application allows the users to scan the monitored computers for:
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This application provides the users with powerful automation. Users can use this application to execute step-by-step sequence automation actions across different endpoints.
IBM BigFix works upon the concept of content. Content is actually representing the data to distribute to targets, or the instructions to execute on the targets, or the queries to execute on the targets. The different types of content included in the IBM BigFix Implementation are:
All types of content are available in the IBM BigFix Console. Each IBM BigFix application utilizes the content to perform different activities. An operator can also create customized content as per the requirements. For example, an operator can create the customized Fixlets to apply the policy rule or patches on the applications.
IBM BigFix helps in the operator identification that which computer requires the content or we can say, to specify on which target content to be applied. To perform this task, the relevant expression is used which comes under the content definition. Relevant expressions are given in human-readable form referred to as Relevance Language.
Patch Management Scenario: Patch Management scenario includes the process of deploying the patches on IBM BigFix through the Patch Management Application. The execution of the process is done through IBM BigFix Console.
Patch Management Scenario is applicable on Windows OS, but you can follow the same process to apply patches on the other available operating systems.
The scenario includes two parts:
A configuration of Patch management for Windows Patches
Once the IBM BigFix product is successfully installed, it subscribes to some maintenance and management sites automatically. Thus, the content available on those sites enters your enterprise automatically, and then its evaluation is done to check the relevance of all computers running on the IBM BigFix console.
You can follow the given steps to subscribe to the patch management site:
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Follow the mentioned steps to apply the windows patch from the console:
SCCM (System Center Configuration Manager) product is developed by Microsoft, and it is used for the management of large groups of computers running on Windows OS. SCCM and BigFix offer quite similar services. But, if we consider the multiple operating systems, multi-tenant scenario, or complex network environment, then BigFix offers better management as compared to the SCCM which has limited scope. Not only this, if the user has complex security requirements, SCCM is not the idle choice.
Check the below-mentioned points to know why BigFix is better than SCCM:
IBM BigFix can effectively manage endpoints, tasks, and activities over the different operating systems like Windows, MAC OS, Unix, Linux, etc
SCCM works well on the Windows Operating system for endpoints management, but the scope limited to the other operating systems like Linux, Unix, and third-party vendor applications.
With the IBM BigFix platform, a user can easily manage up to 250,000 endpoints, thus it offers better scalability
The task of managing endpoints becomes complex, even next to impossible when the count goes above 10,000.
For managing the multi-tenant scenario, complex network environment, multiple operating systems, BigFix is the ideal choice.
SCCM is only beneficial to use when the user does not have any complex management requirements.
BigFix is easy and cost-effective to set up
SCCM is quite expensive to set up as compared to the BigFix.
BigFix allows users to collect data, create reports, export CSVs.
SCCM allows users to set up the schedule as per the security requirements. A user can also automate the patching process of computers and servers.
In BigFix, it is easy to deploy the security and non-security capabilities, update the system, deploy drivers, find out the required information. IBM BigFix also supports central deployment capabilities.
SCCM allows users to have basic system management and supports centralization, so it becomes easy for users to access the required information just from a single console.
The aforementioned points clearly state that IBM BigFix software deployment can be very beneficial for business enterprises for endpoints, compliance, and security management. With IBM BigFix, an organization can effectively manage the virtual and physical endpoints through a single console and also can resolve real-life concern. A comparison between IBM BigFix and SCCM is given which clearly indicates the SCCM platform is effective to manage the application running on windows OS whereas BigFix can be deployed over any platform and deliver the desired outcomes.
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Ravindra Savaram is a Content Lead at Mindmajix.com. His passion lies in writing articles on the most popular IT platforms including Machine learning, DevOps, Data Science, Artificial Intelligence, RPA, Deep Learning, and so on. You can stay up to date on all these technologies by following him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
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