Junior soldiers protected by patches

Training academy automates patching

The Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) has rolled out automated patching software to minimize monthly load on staff manually patching machines.

The ADFA campus at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) has roughly 1200 students, the majority of which are armed with their own computer, and ADFA a fleet of 2500 PCs and 40 servers running both Windows and Unix OS.

Unpatched student computers were placing the network at high risk and the slow manual patching process took many staff hours. Nenad Stefanovic, UNSW@ADFA ICT Services manager said some servers were taking up to two hours to patch and had to be offline on weekends to do so. Stefanovic said they needed to scale subcategories on different systems.

"For example, our laboratory and academic staff PCs have separate needs to students in that they may have a requirement to farm out permission for administrative staff to access IT systems in different schools," Stefanovic said.

"With each student having their own personal computer and using a variety of software, we required a system whereby we could automatically place a patch update on our primary source of virus, the student machine accessing the network.

"We wanted to deploy a security solution that could handle the throughput while delivering the highest levels of protection and supplementing our existing firewall and antispam infrastructure."

ADFA@UNSW will begin rolling out PatchLink Update this month to automatically download and install new software and patches for some 3700 nodes - work previously divided up between four support staff. It is expected the work will continue over summer.

PatchLink licences for the education market are sold on a per user basis. Stefanovic added since deploying PatchLink the organization has been able to devote IT man-hours to performing infrastructure improvements.

"The cost of the product is small compared to the cost in man time savings," Stefanovic said.

"We'll now be able to dedicate more of the IT department's resources to high-end system infrastructure improvements, including the roll-out of an online learning management system and a brand new blade storage area networking server infrastructure rather than worrying about what software people have."

More about Australian Defence ForceAustralian Defence Force AcademyOnline LearningPatchlinkPatchlinkUniversity of New South WalesUniversity of New South WalesUNSW

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