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Buyer's Guide
Vulnerability Management
September 2022
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Jon Abbott - PeerSpot reviewer
CEO at ThreatAware
Real User
Top 10
Fully cloud-based, supports multiple platforms, easy to set up, and the interface is intuitive
Pros and Cons
  • "It's super easy to use and we haven't found anything easier."
  • "The biggest area they need to fix, without a doubt, is the ability to copy and sync profiles and worklets between all of the organizations you manage, and the ability to have top-level user access control across all of the companies that you manage."

What is our primary use case?

We are a managed service provider and we use Automox to patch our clients' systems.

How has it helped my organization?

We have integrated Automox directly into our breach prevention platform, ThreatAware, which means that having an API is a massive win.

Automox provides us visibility of devices in our environment, in terms of patch status and applications, and it is important to us because you can't protect what you can't see.

This product provides patch management from a single console across Windows, macOS, and Linux endpoints. Overall, the patch management is very good. If it can't do something because I haven't integrated it, you can use the worklets and do it yourself, which is great.

The speed that Automox carries out its functions is really quick. When you install the agent, literally within 30 seconds, the machine will appear. This is really handy because if you are rolling out a load, you can just check them off as you go. You don't have to wait half an hour and come back. We've natively integrated it with their API to ThreatAware and if we say, "run a patch or reboot," literally instantly, those patches start installing within seconds. It's very quick.

One of the key features we use is the worklets, which are used to create and automate customized tasks across endpoints. My team uses worklets all the time. One example is that they use them to install all of the other underlying agents. We use them to connect to Freshservice and TeamViewer, where Automox installs the Freshservice agent and the TeamViewer agent, all within minutes.

We use the fully automated patching process and it's great. It literally just follows the schedule and does it when you want. Obviously, the machines need to be turned on but as long as it's on, Automox will patch it.

Patching automation saves us a lot of time. We try to utilize automation in everything we do. Then when we link it into ThreatAware and use the bulk operation feature, it just makes life easy. We're probably saving between 10 and 12 hours a month, which is pretty decent.

Automox gives us one less thing that we need to worry about. It used to be a real pain, where perhaps something wasn't installing or we didn't have something that was covering all the operating systems, or we had multiple products being used. We never felt fully confident that everything was being done but now, we can see exactly what's done, and what isn't. Literally, it's our go-to product for patching and we don't use anything else.

What is most valuable?

There are three features that I find quite valuable.

  • It is completely cloud-based.
  • It works on every operating system.
  • It supports worklets, which means that it's really agile in what we can do with it.

Although we use it for patching, we also use it for pinging off other commands and scripts like uninstalls and just general fixes. We put Automox on first, then everything else follows using the policies and it's all automated. It works very well.

It is important to us that this is a cloud-native platform because we are a fully cloud-based business. We only use things that are in the cloud, pretty much. For us, the thought of having to maintain servers is foreign because it's something that we just don't want to do anymore. We used to, many years ago, but not anymore.

Automox's console has a clear interface, it's easy to use, and it looks good. In terms of importance, looking good doesn't really matter but the fact that it does look good means that it just makes it a lot more intuitive. What you need to do is clear.

It's super easy to use and we haven't found anything easier. You just specify what you want to patch, and what level. For example, you can choose to just do security, or you can do everything. You tick a few boxes and it's done. That's how easy it should be.

We've used a lot of other products, as well, and many of them are not easy to use. I think that SCCM is probably a prime example of the most complicated way of doing patching. With Automox, its usability is a sign that it's a very well put together, well thought out product. If it's there to do a task, you shouldn't need to be tweaking and adjusting.

What needs improvement?

The biggest area they need to fix, without a doubt, is the ability to copy and sync profiles and worklets between all of the organizations you manage, and the ability to have top-level user access control across all of the companies that you manage. This is important to us because we manage multiple companies and they're all in our profile, but all of the policies, the worklets, and the user access is all unique for every single company. It's a real pain and I wish they'd fix that.

As it is now, we have to create a worklet or policy for each client instead of replicating them. Also, for users, you have to invite one user to every single company. So, you create the user one, then invite them. If you haven't been invited to a company then you don't know what you haven't been invited to. It's a real pain and they really need to sort that out. 

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Automox for a couple of years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is rock-solid and I've never had a problem accessing it. It's always online, and it's always fast.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's scalable, but there's definitely that issue with the overall manageability of each client, and it is becoming annoying. In terms of adding in new machines, there is no issue there. However, adding in lots of different companies, because we're an MSP, does become a bit of a pain.

We've got approximately 15 people working on it and they're engineers ranging from second to third line.

This is a chargeable product, so we don't have all of our clients on it. At this point, we're probably protecting about 1,800 machines with it. We do plan on increasing the number of endpoints in the future.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support team is really good. We have used them and they are fast. They're getting issues solved.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using SolarWinds N-able a long time ago and we were using Windows Update Services before that. Neither were fit for the purpose. N-able was unbelievably complicated to set up and not very effective. Windows Update was not fit because it can't do Macs, third-party tools, or Linux. Also, it was pretty hit and miss on how good it was during the patching, even on its own Windows machines.

Both of these solutions were pretty abysmal, to be honest, which prompted us, a few years back, to go looking for something better.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is really easy and it involves only four steps. All you have to do is create your policies. In fact, we've written a guide on it in ThreatAware.

We've rolled out to each of our clients and we have a set way that we create our policies. It is a top-level template that we implement and we follow it each time we're setting up a new client. It takes about four hours to complete.

Setting up the policies is extremely easy. You create your groups and you do this by working out what type of machines you have and how you want those groups to be. You may choose to do it based on the operating system type, or on the severity of the criticalness. You might have a testing group, and you might also have one that's linked to schedules.

Then, you create the relevant policies that match that. So for example, you might decide that you're going to patch once a week, and you're going to start patching your test machines on Monday, then you're going to expand your group a little bit further on Tuesday. Eventually ramping that up to the critical systems on Friday.

After that, you link the policies so you know one's going to do X number of updates and it's going to do that once a week. Then you might have another policy, maybe once a month, where you are going to do feature updates. You may be doing security updates once a week, then your feature updates once a month. You just create those relevant groups and policies and tick the boxes you need. It really is that simple where you can specify something like "I want Windows and I want security, critical patches only, and I want that every Monday." Create that, then link it to the group. That's it, done. After that, all that remains is assigning the computers to the right groups.

What was our ROI?

We have definitely seen ROI from Automox, both in terms of time and money savings.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is fairly reasonable for what you get. We are on the premium licensing, which is the one that has the API capability that we use. There isn't any additional cost on top of that.

I wouldn't mind it being a bit cheaper but I wouldn't want it to be much more expensive. It's getting close to the point where we would need to look at other options if it were priced any higher.

We made use of the free trial before implementing it. This was very important because we don't implement any technology unless we try it.

We have used on-premise solutions to manage patching, configurations, and software, and it's going to be more expensive if you implement the on-premises route. It's not about the cost of that one server; rather, it's the cost of maintaining on-premises equipment, in general, and all of the limitations that come with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at ManageEngine and several others. I know that there was none that actually supported all of the operating systems and worked solely on one agent being rolled out. They all needed to have some kind of infrastructure.

That landscape has changed now, as there are more competitors than they had then. However, they are leaders in this area, and we know this because we do evaluate quite regularly.

What other advice do I have?

My advice for anybody who is considering Automox is to utilize the free trial. It really doesn't take long to do it. What you can do is just install the agents on a handful of machines, then you can just put it in discovery mode. From there, it would tell you exactly what patches are missing, and you'll see the difference between what Automox is finding and how many things are missed already. Generally, whenever we do that, you see that the previous patching method is not as good.

Then you can start testing out the policies a bit more and actually getting them installed. It really doesn't take long. In a week, I think you'll be able to see how effective it is. It's a neat little system. It's good.

The biggest lesson that I have learned is an obvious one, but watch out for the auto-reboot option in the policies so that it doesn't just go and reboot all of the machines. The notification feature is okay, although it's a little bit hit and miss. It will give you the notifications, but then if you ignore them enough times then it won't tell you that it's just going to go ahead and install immediately. When this happens, it may just reboot the machine. It will have given you a lot of warning but it's not right at that moment. It is something that you should be mindful of. The best thing to do is choose to reboot at one of the times it is asking.

Overall, this is a really good solution and we are really impressed with it. However, I would still like to see further integrations. I know that they are pushing people to use the worklets but I still think it creates more effort for the client. I would also like to see the ability to handle customers within one larger group and fix the access control between multiple customers.

I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Public Cloud
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
JackSmith1 - PeerSpot reviewer
Security Engineer at a retailer with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
Establishes patching policies that continuously work with minimal effort
Pros and Cons
  • "Coming from prior solutions that were a lot more effort, Automox's patch management abilities are transformational. When I took over patching at my company, they were using on-premise architecture to patch. As the workforce shifted from being in the office into their home offices, I was able to lift and shift with no effort other than deploying the new agent out into the environment."
  • "There should be better inventory capabilities. Right now, they only allow you to have insight into software out-of-the-box. It would be nice to also extend that into custom inventory that can be modified and managed by the practitioner."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use cases for Automox are for patching, configuration management, and support. Our help desk receives tickets and we use Automox to create solutions that the help desk can use in an automated fashion rather than having to manually do the work. We have created ways to help them work faster.

How has it helped my organization?

A big benefit is Automox's ability to automate repetitive tasks for our help desk. If the VPN breaks, we can just click a button and fix the VPN for that person. If the software is having a hard time, we can run solutions to remove and reinstall that software rapidly so that they can get back to supporting the next person in line. Especially as our company is growing exponentially, Automox helps us scale rapidly because we can't just hire a bunch of help desk people and have them up and running quickly. Automox allows that particular effort to be a little bit more seamless. Almost every person that has the tool absolutely loves it.

It is very important to us that it is a cloud-native platform. Software as a Service means that I'm not maintaining internal architecture, servers, licensing, and the likes to keep it online or High Availability if I need it. I don't have to think about any of that because it's just there.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is its ability to establish patching policies that continuously work with minimal effort. That's important to me because I am a long-time configuration management person and have dealt with other tools that require me to build the schedule up manually each time to create the list of patches. The value-add is that I'm not doing those two steps. The former step of building out lists of patches is the most important to have to deploy. The third-party patches require a lot more effort and Automox has taken that work off of my plate. That is a lot of work that a practitioner would have to do every single month. I am able to be more focused on patching compliance rather than building up patching, which has more value.

I patch across Windows, Mac iOS, and Linux. If I split it, it would be 90% Windows, 8% Mac, and 2% Linux.

Coming from prior solutions that were a lot more effort, Automox's patch management abilities are transformational. When I took over patching at my company, they were using on-premise architecture to patch. As the workforce shifted from being in the office into home offices, I was able to lift and shift with no effort other than deploying the new agent out into the environment.

Automox's console for patch management is very successful. There are some challenges in regards to third parties that change how they deploy software. Examples would include how Adobe or Oracle approach some of their third-party tools. From an Operating System standpoint, they're well on their way. In the time that I've been with them, they have overcome the challenges of feature updates in Windows and I think they'll also overcome the challenges of major updates across Mac and Linux in due time. 

In terms of how much time Automox saves us, I've had a few examples in my environment where I can explicitly point out how much time savings there is. One example was replacing Office 32-bit with 64-bit. We wrote a worklist to do it and that saved each interaction roughly an hour. There were about 300 people that wanted to do it. We were able to multiply that effort, remove 30 minutes and turn it into two minutes of effort. Over time, we're saving at least 40 to 80 hours a month due to all the different features that Automox is helping us automate.

I use their Worklets to create and automate customized tasks across endpoints. I heavily rely on Worklets across many aspects of the company. I have created Worklets to manage drivers, security configurations, and software management. It's way faster than expected, coming from traditional tools that take forever for policy to download. Manually deploying a payload to it running on an endpoint is almost instantaneous. It's so fast.

In terms of Automox's ease of use, I have multiple help desk individuals operating within the tool and building Worklets who have less experience in the field. From being able to take people with fewer capabilities and helping them be highly successful, the tool is much easier than it was with prior configuration management tools that I've used in the past.

We use their API to review clients to check how to pull back some of the Worklets that we've used that are doing inventory-type or compliance-type checks to build out custom reports. The API is almost an extension to every script that we can run.

What needs improvement?

It is still a challenge but not impossible to patch solutions like Adobe via Automox. It just requires me to go back to some of my older techniques and older tool belt items. I still have to reach back out to some of my old ways of doing work and accomplish it that way, but it's not impossible. Where there are gaps in their automation, there are ways for me to fill those gaps. They haven't left me high and dry. They've still left me with a way to work around it. It might be a little effort, but I can get there.

There should be better inventory capabilities. Right now, they only allow you to have insight into software out-of-the-box. It would be nice to also extend that into custom inventory that can be modified and managed by the practitioner. 

It would also be really great if every device that's in Automox is limited to a single group and you can only apply policy to that one group. It would be nice to put a computer in multiple groups and apply different policies to different systems. I might only have seven or eight systems that I want to do a very specific config on, and in order to be able to do that, I have to use the API to make that a reality in another automation. Automox is short. I'm able to use the API or manual effort to get past it. They should improve the experience so that less technically skilled people can also be just as successful as a higher skilled person.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using Automox for 11 to 13 months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

In terms of stability, Automox is equal to other tools I've used. I tend to run into problems with systems on every network. It's to be expected. It's always difficult to be 100%. Automox is very comparative to keeping the stability across the board as far as clients staying healthy and online and continue working without intervention. It's very similar to other tools in the industry. From an entire solution perspective, it's almost always online. When there is an incident, they give me updates every 20 minutes as to what the status is. They have really good incident responses when it does go down. Overall, my impression has been very positive. It hasn't caused me any significant constraints on my company's ability to perform.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales with my environment quite well. I don't have to think about it. I started out with 1,000 devices and quickly went above that. I found a surprise bill and then was able to come up with a solution and put a guardrail up so that I wouldn't go over my licensing. Today I'm using it for 1,500 points. Within the next year, I'll probably be using it for 2,500 endpoints.

Four to five people work on Automox on a regular basis. We have security, systems engineering, and help desk workers. 

How are customer service and technical support?

Support is very quick to respond. The support personnel are knowledgeable and they tend to be very positive in their interactions. They have a genuine "I want to help you solve the problem" feel. I've used them multiple times and they've taught me a thing or two, and hopefully, I've taught them a thing or two along the way. It's more of a partnership to me.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to Automox, I've used WSS, SCCM, PsExec, and PDQ Deploy to manage the infrastructures for these particular outcomes.

I switched to Automox because we can go from zero to hero with all of our complex needs really fast. We don't have to have the infrastructure. We don't have to have highly skilled individuals. We simply just need to turn it on and start doing what we need to do and the rest takes care of itself. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. I set up my environment in the course of three hours across about 600 endpoints.

I used my existing tools to push the product and then I used other tools to find the gaps and made an effort to close them manually very quickly. There was no plan. We just stumbled through the implementation. That's a testament to how easy the deployment is. You can come in without a plan and tackle it with no problem at all.

It was very easy to set up policies. They're rather straightforward. The user interface is very pointed. It keeps you aware of what you're doing. My only critique is that they should explicitly call out and make a policy event. Building the policies is rather intuitive. You can go in without any prior knowledge and build a policy without messing it up on the first try.

What was our ROI?

There has certainly been a return on the time spent accomplishing the tasks and accomplishing tasks that we didn't even think would save us time, but it ultimately did. We have also seen a return in our ability to patch everything and keep it compliant. Our vulnerability management program measures this and so far has been a success.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There are no additional costs in addition to the extended licensing fees with Automox. You get support and per endpoint license with what you purchased.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I looked at ConnectWise, BigFix, and considered Cisco Meraki System Manager. I considered going towards SCCM for that. Out of all of them, I couldn't see any other product besides Automox that would get me where I needed to go as fast as I needed to go.

It is much cheaper to go with the cloud-native solution than it was for on-prem. There's a trade-off there. There's a lot of functionality and features that you don't have with Automox that you would have with some of these on-prem solutions that just don't exist yet.

For example, the ability to push policy control, Bit-Locker control, remote access, or having a self-service software portal for any employee to log into a portal and say, "Hey, I need Adobe reader." They click a button and they now have Adobe reader. We still have to rely on our help desk to call in and ask for said software and then we can use Automox to push it. It would be really great to have that ability. 

What other advice do I have?

If I've installed the solution, I do not have complete visibility, but I definitely know the endpoint is there or if it's missing patches or any configurations that I custom make.

The free trial of Automox was really important in our decision to go with it so that we could know how it really works. It's one thing to read a review or have them tell you how great their product is. It's another to see it working in real-time and especially working in one environment with all the different pieces they might have that could potentially make it harder to work. The trial is important for that consideration.

My advice to anybody considering Automox would be to think about potentially investing in the API ahead of time because if I was to do it all over again, I think I would put source control around anything getting pushed into Automox, and I would probably set it up to where I would use the API to create policy. I'd use the API to push the code that sits in that policy. I think everything would be pushed through source control that way versus using the web console to log in and push all that. Every time you go in and make a change, there's really no history there. The only thing I would change about the implementation is to focus a little bit more on how to manage it over time and make some modifications to it.

I would rate Automox a ten out of ten. 

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
Vice President, Corporate Infrastructure at a media company with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Top 20
A flexible and stable solution that does a majority of the tasks

What is our primary use case?

We use it for patch management. It is used for patching servers and workstations.

We're using the web version.

What is most valuable?

Its flexibility is most valuable.

What needs improvement?

It should have integrated workstation access. So, there should be a remote desktop feature.

For how long have I used the solution?

We dealt with it for a couple of months.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has been pretty stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It should be easy. We're probably going the opposite way. We're not going to be doing much scaling up. If anything, we'll be scaling down.

There are three people who use this solution. They are from desktop support and server infrastructure.

How are customer service and support?

I never had to contact them other than during the implementation.

How was the initial setup?

It wasn't complex at all.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Its licensing for a year was nine grand. There was no additional fee.

What other advice do I have?

It is a flexible solution that does a majority of the tasks. The only thing it really doesn't do is Mac, which is something that Jamf Pro does, but it is not necessary.

I would rate it a nine out of 10.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Buyer's Guide
Vulnerability Management
September 2022
Get our free report covering Microsoft, HCL, Microsoft, and other competitors of Automox. Updated: September 2022.
633,572 professionals have used our research since 2012.