The Lewis & Clark Library network includes four branches and a bookmobile that travels to different locations in the Helena, Montana region.
The IT department for the library includes Systems Manager and Librarian Matt Beckstrom along with a full time and a part time employee. Beckstrom is active with the American Library Association and is a published author of several IT security and privacy books.
Their IT infrastructure includes:
When Beckstrom joined the IT department in 1999 the computers were open, and his focus was on cleaning them up and deleting files when he could. Eventually, they started using ZENworks to push out security policies and deliver applications.
Beckstrom explained that ZENworks didn’t always work for Windows system or critical updates. He could get the update pushed out, but it often required a manual reboot on each individual machine to install. So, each new Windows update required the department to go to each device, remove the policy he’d pushed out using ZENworks, install the updates, and then reinstall the security policies. As a result, Windows updates were only happening every couple of months and usually required hours of testing to determine if any issues emerged from the update.
It’s only been in the last serval months that Lewis & Clark Library migrated away from ZENworks for staff computers. They started with a trial period knowing that Deploy had to meet high expectations if it were to replace ZENworks and all the time and effort they’d invested in it and their processes over several years.
Initially, the library used Deploy alongside the Faronics Antivirus with a focus on Windows and application updates. ZENworks still had a role, but its complexity remained difficult to manage especially in contrast to Deploy. Beckstrom knew that ZENworks was better suited to larger environments than theirs.
“It was a lot of overhead just to update Firefox for example,” said Beckstrom. Today, ZENworks has a dwindling role in how they manage staff devices, and the library manage most functions within Deploy exclusively.
“Before Deploy we did a lot of reimaging,” shared Beckstrom. “We spent hours and hours a week to get machines updated and all running the same versions of software.”
Today, they put the PCs into maintenance mode once per week to update their applications, including Windows. According to Beckstrom, it works every time and staff don’t need to chase after failed updates, saving them at least 2-3 hours per week. They also no longer have to remove and reinstall security policies just to update a machine.
Librarian, Lewis & Clark Library
By not doing updates as quickly as possible, Beckstrom knew he was potentially leaving security vulnerabilities. By simplifying the process and installing updates more frequently, they’re less likely to fall victim to emerging exploits.
“The peace of mind alone is invaluable,” shared Beckstrom. “I feel better knowing that our machines have critical updates installed once a week.” Beckstrom stays on top of new exploits and appreciates the ability to quickly confirm if his machines have the updates required to protect them against emerging threats.
Remote access is important for the library who manage locations as much as 1.5 hours away and prefer to minimize travel, especially in the winter. They’ve migrated the process to Deploy from ZENworks and Beckstrom and his team can manage any public or staff device at any of their locations easily, even if they are working from home.
The IT team currently do imaging offline using a portable hard drive. However, they know the ability to use Deploy to push out images to multiple devices is their next step forward.
Librarian, Lewis & Clark Library
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