Yes, it is now possible to take control of a managed target located anywhere in the world!  Remote control has long been a key capability enjoyed by organizations who use BigFix Lifecycle.  Recently, the BigFix team has extended functionality to allow authorized BigFix users, regardless of where they are located, to control unattended workstations and servers.

Types of Remote Control Deployments – an Overview

BigFix Remote Control now offers four types of deployments:

  1. Peer-to-peer is the simplest scenario, useful for small deployments where all endpoints are in network sight of the Controllers and where there is no requirement to centrally manage the Controller policies.
  2. Intranet Managed is useful when managed endpoints are outside the firewall or when strict policy control and centralized auditing are required. This type of deployment requires deployment of one or more Gateways.
  3. On-demand is useful when managed endpoints are located outside of the corporate network. This type of deployment requires the deployment of Brokers and requires the user to provide a connection code. On Demand connections are used for agentless endpoints.
  4. Unattended is the newest deployment type. It useful when managed endpoints are located outside of the corporate network. In contrast to On-demand, the presence of a user in front of the endpoint not required.

Although the BigFix Remote Control Controller is available for use inside the corporate network, the new Lite Web Portal allows the Controllers function operate outside the corporate network.

Unattended Remote Control Use Cases

Implementing BigFix Remote Control provides significant business value. It reduces deskside IT management costs, travel costs, enhances end user satisfaction, and improves 7×24 operations. Now with support for unattended endpoints or targets, the value of BigFix Remote Control as grown substantially.  Unattended mode allows organizations to:

  • Confidently support remote employees working from home – Remote employees have workstations that are sometimes connected at the office, sometimes connected from home via the VPN and sometimes connected from cafes only via the internet. For these types of situations, the ‘unattended’ type of deployment makes these endpoints always reachable, regardless of the type of connection.
  • Manage company-owned endpoints that are permanently outside the corporate network and do not require the presence of user to initiate the session. For example, the IT staff working from home can manage servers in the company’s remote offices (e.g. hotels, university campuses, and retail stores) which may not be connected via a VPN. The use of unattended mode eliminates the need for Gateways in each subnet and offloads remote control traffic from the VPN.
  • Effectively deliver remote endpoint management and support. Using BigFix Remote Control in unattended mode, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can manage and control servers at their customer’s offices or data centers and deliver end user support services as well. Unattended mode significantly reduces network complexity and speeds implementation.

Comparing Types of Remote Controlling Deployments

An organization can adopt one or more remote control deployment type depending on network environment, management granularity, and the location of the managing/controlling and the managed endpoints. The following table will clarify the best type of deployment depending upon these variables:

Types of Remote Controlling Deployments
Unattended On-demand Agent or Agentless Internet Managed Peer-to-Peer
Components Location
Target Endpoint Inside or Outside company network Inside or Outside company network Inside company network only Inside company network only
Controller Inside Yes Yes Yes Yes
Controller Outside Yes, through the Lite Web Portal Yes, through the Lite Web Portal No No
Session Establishment
Requires User at the target system to Initiate a Session  No Yes, to enter the connection code.  No  No
Require User to Accept an Incoming Session Configurable Configurable Configurable Configurable
Centrally managed policies and auditing Yes Yes Yes  No
Networking
Server Contact Through a Broker Through a Broker Direct No
Server Contact Frequency Configurable At session time Configurable n/a
Brokers required Yes Yes No n/a
Gateways required No No Yes, to traverse
firewalls, depending on network structure
n/a
Offload traffic from VPN using the Lite Web Portal Yes Yes n/a n/a

 

Summary

With the new Lite Web Portal and support for unattended endpoints, BigFix addresses an unprecedented set of remote control requirements and deployment scenarios. As a result, organizations can now manage and control remote servers and workstations regardless of location, increasing the business value of BigFix Remote Control while enabling Work from Home initiatives and delivering reliable remote control capabilities that MSPs require.

For more information about BigFix Remote Control, a component of BigFix Lifecycle, visit https://www.hcltechsw.com/bigfix/offerings/lifecycle.

Find more, fix more and do more…with BigFix!

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