What is Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager?
System Center Configuration manager, the flagship systems management product from Microsoft, is a comprehensive management solution for computer systems utilizing Microsoft Windows operating systems. With Configuration Manager, IT technicians proactively manage the entire lifecycle of all Windows-powered devices. This includes deploying and maintaining systems and software, responding to security threats, distributing settings, and analyzing inventory data.
If you would like to learn more about Configuration Manager, please visit the Microsoft website.
What benefits does a client receive from Configuration Manager?
- Reliability: Your device will quickly receive software updates and patches with little to no interaction on your part.
- Time Efficiency: You will stay more productive as deployment and updating processes run in the background, freeing up more time for teaching, research and management.
- Flexibility: You can choose when and where to install new software or run maintenance on your device through Self-service portals.
- Security: IT Technicians will manage the security of your machine so you don't have to. You can rest assured that software patches, antivirus protection, and firewalls are well maintained.
- Confidentiality: Your data and files will remain confidential; no personal data is scanned, indexed, or transmitted off your device. CMT servers also keep full audit logs of any actions performed by technicians.
- Compliance: Your device will always be in compliance with federal laws governing requirements for research or student data on University computers.
How does Configuration Manager work?
The Configuration Manager infrastructure consists of several high-performance, redundant servers which provide a database of computer information and data storage for programs, applications, and operating system images for deployment to end-user computers. Configuration Manager utilizes a small software utility known as an "agent" to communicate with the servers. This agent inventories hardware specifications, software installation information and provides for the automated installation of software updates and security patches. Included with the agent is another application called "Software Center", which will be described below.
All client/server communication is encrypted by a certificate pair configured when the agent is installed.
What information does Configuration Manager collect?
The UNL implementation of Configuration Manager has been customized to collect only the data needed to support computers running a Microsoft Windows operating system. This information includes:
- Hardware Specifications
- Installed Applications & Usage
- Services Running
- Available Software Updates
- Local User Accounts and Login/Logout Timestamps
- Security Status (Firewall, SSH, etc)
- Connected Peripheral Devices
No personal information is collected, such as the contents or names of personal files (documents, email, etc) or any browsing history.
How is the Configuration Manager agent installed?
Your IT support group can enroll your UNL-issued device remotely or by sending you an invitation by email.
Faculty who wish to enroll must first complete the Opt-In form. After completing the form, faculty will be contacted by their IT support group for assistance.
How do I uninstall Configuration Manager from my device?
Clients who wish to remove their device from Configuration Manager should contact their IT support group for assistance.
What devices does Configuration Manager support?
Generally, System Center Configuration Manager supports all recent versions of Microsoft Windows including Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012. For more information, please see the SCCM Compatibility list.
Is my device enrolled in Configuration Manager?
To find out if your UNL-issued device is enrolled, look for the Configuration Manager object found in the Windows Control Panel. Additionally, you may look for a Configuration Manager category in your Windows start menu.
What is Software Center?
The Software Center application is similar to a mobile device app store (such as Google Play or the Apple App Store), but it provides customized content for University Windows systems. This content includes access to university approved software, maintenance task scheduling, support options, and other documentation. The Software Center gives clients the flexibility of choosing what to install and when to install it.
There is also a web portal called "UNL Apps" which will have additional software titles available for download such as web browsers, plugins and free-to-use applications such as Adobe Reader.
The Software Center is managed and maintained by UNL ITS. If you would like to see something added, please submit a request through the MySupport system.
Can I connect to Software Center when I am off-campus?
For Software Center to function, the device must be on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln network, or connected via a Virtual Private Network.
What changes does the installation of Configuration Manager make to a PC?
Configuration Manager installs the agent to your PC. The agent runs in the background and will not interfere with the operation of your computer. Additionally, Configuration Manager installs the Software Center application and the Configuration Manager control panel object.
How will software be installed on my computer?
Most software installations will be initiated by clients through the Software Center application. Your IT support group may also push software as needed/requested. UNL ITS will not distribute software unless requested to do so by the client or department IT staff. You may also have access to the UNL Apps web portal which will allow you to initiate an "on-demand" installation of common, non-UNL licensed software titles such as web browsers and plugins as mentioned above.
Who has access to my computer?
Select members of your IT support group have the ability to manage your UNL-issued Windows device with the Configuration Manager. Configuration Manager Administrators also have campus-wide access.
Will I still have Administrative access to my PC?
There will be no automatic changes to the privileges of your user account by enrolling in Configuration Manager. Your IT support group will contact you if changes are to be made.
What policies are enforced?
At this time there are no policies that are automatically enforced system wide by UNL ITS. The distribution of policies is the responsibility of individual IT support groups. If you have any questions about what policies are enforced on your UNL-issued device, please contact your IT support group.
UNL ITS does provide and maintain a catalog of software, maintenance tasks, and other links in Software Center and UNL Apps. The Software Center catalog may also be supplemented by your IT support group.
What if I have other questions?
For more information please contact the System Center Configuration Manager Administrator, Shawn Aguirre.