BigFix Review

We're able to make sure that our endpoints are secure, regardless of the location on or off network


What is our primary use case?

We help our customers and ourselves do vulnerability and compliance implementations, licensing compliance, and patch management solutions.

How has it helped my organization?

I've worked with the product a very long time, almost eight and a half years now, and for my own company, we're able to make sure that our endpoints are secure, regardless of the location on or off network. Also, for a lot of our customers, a big benefit is being able to give with accuracy, the reporting of compliancies based on NIST or STIGs, compliance reporting tools and being able to know that what they're doing.

It has also helped to reduce network traffic when it comes to downloading patches. By only having to download the patch once to the central location and then utilizing the relay structure to then download the patch to a specific site and then everything gathering at local, it greatly reduces the bandwidth of multiple endpoints.

We use it to compare current and old patches. I don't necessarily want to deploy a roll-up patch, but we have to because that's how the vendors are producing them. By being able to evaluate whether the new patching is as successful as the old way, we're able to compare the different content of the patches and not just that the patch has been delivered, but that the vulnerability that the patch is supposed to fix no longer exists.

Before we started using this solution, patching was done per endpoint. What we're able to do now is, we can test the patches, deploy them, with certainty that they're not breaking anything else, and then large scale deploy the amount. I've seen customers reduce their patch cycle times from a 60-day turnaround window to a 15-day turnaround window.

Finally, it has helped reduce software spend. By having to look at the licensed tools and what's being utilized and not utilized, we're able to make informed decisions about software license levels. This product falls a little short as far as the licensing compliance capabilities. I would like to see some development surrounding that so that I could input ELA agreements, regardless of vendor, and be able to pull those compliance-based reports.

What is most valuable?

The ease of use is the most valuable feature. Underlying that is the truth that the information that's being derived from the endpoints is accurate. There's no gray matter, and we don't have to interpret the results.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see file consistency and sizing, and I would like to see more robust reporting in the power management features. Energy use and consumption has become a cry within IT development. It's an underserved piece of the product that has implications that could allow security and green IT and sustainability to be married better.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is paramount. It has definitely reduced the need for multiple products down at the endpoint, it's reduced the number of agents needed at the endpoint, and overall because the product was created so many years ago when networks were not nearly as robust as they are now, the improvement of the product over time along with the improvement of the stability of large networks, has coincided. It is as stable today as when you could only transfer 15 bits across the line.

How are customer service and technical support?

We're a partner, so we deliver technical support to customers. When we need to talk to the product support, traditionally, with the product over the last five years, I would not say support has been supportive. I hope that changes.

How was the initial setup?

Our initial setup was very complex because we not only have it set up for our internal use, but we also have a managed service platform in which we service multiple clients. We have a cloud-based solution with it as well. We're called in for a lot of the crazy deployments that are out there in the customer world where they have massive amounts of endpoints and really complex network systems.

What was our ROI?

If you utilize the tool to the maximum capacity available to you, your ROI is significantly five to seven-fold over cost.

What other advice do I have?

SCCM was a product that was originally designed to deploy Microsoft Office and to patch some of the underlying structures of the Microsoft operating system. It was never designed to be a large-scale security compliance or endpoint management tool. So when you look at it from those foundations, it doesn't compare. SCCM is a free product that's offered as part of an ELA agreement that can do those functions and features, but it's not designed to do it.

I would rate BigFix a nine out of ten. It is a world leader in the patch management, vulnerability management, and security compliance space. Not a ten because the product still has room for growth and maturity to be a full-scale platform for agnostic management.

I would advise someone considering this solution to start with the simplest thing that you need to be fixed, whether that's patch management or that's software-inventory, and learn how the product works. If you can conceptually understand that it's an agnostic platform, then what I would do for patching is the same thing that I would do for inventory, which is the same thing that I would do for compliance management. Then converting over those features until into a holistic environment is easy. If you're trying to eat the elephant all at once, it gets very overwhelming very quickly.

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner.
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