Marshall JonesMarshall Jones, Director of Managed Services Development

How fast a year flies by! Can you believe it’s August already? I can’t either, but that means it’s been a full year since we debuted our Critical Application Patching Service (CAPS) to update third-party applications. Since a large part of my job responsibility is to enhance our existing product offerings, I’ve taken this one year anniversary as a good opportunity to analyze CAPS again. My goal was to look back at the enhancements we have made over the year, what we’ve been able to accomplish with CAPS, and how we can continue to improve CAPS for the future.

Over the last year we have been able to introduce several enhancements to CAPS that have greatly improved the customer experience. Most of these improvements were to the enhanced error handling that CAPS has integrated. This error handling significantly reduces the number of update failures that a customer may have to investigate. We also were faced with quite a formidable challenge dealing with the wide variety of firewall rules and restrictions regarding Internet traffic at each client. Thankfully, with some hard work and determination, we were able to come up with an innovative solution that allows us to continue to provide these patches even in the toughest of circumstances. In addition to this, we also added the ability to update Adobe Acrobat, which was the top requested application.

What’s really interesting to me is what we’ve been able to accomplish with the development of CAPS. It’s being used to manage roughly 9,000 instances of Flash and Java and over 7,000 instances of Reader. In the past 12 months, CAPS has updated over 10,000 machines, successfully installing a total of 175,000 patches. If you assume it takes just 1 minute per patch, that’s almost 3,000 saved man-hours for our clients! We have installed an average of almost 700 patches each weekday and roughly 18 patches per machine over the last year. In some cases, we’ve seen that clients’ malware incidents have dropped by as much as 90% when we implement CAPS. These numbers can be a bit staggering, especially when you consider that quite often, before CAPS, many administrators had no strategy for updating these third-party applications and their machines were left vulnerable while they tried to determine the most effective way to get these patches installed.

Even with these great CAPS statistics, we always like to solicit customer feedback to determine how we can improve all of our products, and CAPS is no exception. Based on this feedback, our primary focus with CAPS right now is with reporting. We are already well into this process, and our end goal is to provide reports that are easy to read and understand from the administrator’s, board’s, as well as auditor’s point of view. We hope to be able to provide overall results at a quick glance, but also provide detailed information for troubleshooting when necessary. In addition, to improve the accessibility of these reports, they will be available on the (soon to be released) Safe Systems Client Portal. This will allow you to go and pull the reports ad hoc, rather than having to rely on them coming through your Account Manager.

CAPS certainly has come a long way in just one short year, but we’ll continue our efforts toward enhancing the product.  If you’d like to hear more about CAPS or if you’re interested in purchasing CAPS, please contact your Account Manager and let them know.

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