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Common Answers (FAQ) to Request for Information (RFI)

Purpose:
You have an RFI or other comparison model you would like to complete in order to evaluate Admin Arsenal’s PDQ Products.

Resolution:
The information below is considered accurate through September 2016.

    1. Do you track Microsoft patches/hotfixes?
    2. Does Your Solution support a web-based client for user and administrative functions?
    3. Does your product provide support for managing Windows 7. 8.x and 10?
    4. Are your updates pre-built, pre-tested and ready to deploy?
    5. Do you provide support if there is an issue installing one of the updates?
    6. Do you provide demonstrations of your product?
    7. What are the requirements to install your product?
    8. Does your product require any kind of a separate agent on the client computer or does it use the SCCM-like agent?
    9. Are you able to provide a trial or evaluation copy of your software?
    10. What are the advantages of your product vs. the competition?
    11. Do you have end-user testimonials for your product?
    12. Does your product provide patch management for Adobe Products, Java, Firefox, Flash, and Chrome?
    13. Describe how remote devices are patched.
    14. What is the turnaround time from vendor release of patches to availability within your product for patch deployment?
    15. Can you select which patches you want to release?
    16. Can patches be rolled back?
    17. Can you block notifications from 3rd party apps that you patch?
    18. Are there any controls or scheduling to manage patches going out? So that the network is not overloaded?
    19. Describe your client support model and service level agreement.
    20. Describe how the application is licensed (i.e. concurrent, per user, per site, etc.).
    21. What type and versions of databases are required?
    22. What is the application upgrade process? How many times per year are there upgrade releases?
    23. Can patches be deployed automatically to specific groups?
    24. What forms of authentication are supported? (ie. Password, biometric, token, etc)?
    25. What is the authentication system used? (i.e.: Active Directory via LDAP, Integrated Windows Authentication, Application, Database, Web Server, other)?
    26. Does the application enforce a password policy?
    27. How often do you test your application for vulnerabilities?
    28. How do you report your application vulnerabilities to your customers?
    29. Can system logs be sent to a log server?
    30. Does your solution provide reports for patched and unpatched devices?
    31. Does your solution provide reports for unmanaged devices?
    32. Does your solution provide reports for non-compliant devices?
    33. Does your solution provide reports for managed devices that are not communicating?
    34. Does your solution provide reports for failed updates?
    35. Does your solution provide reports on critical issues?
    36. Can reports be scheduled?
    37. Can reports be configured for automatic alerts?
    38. Does your solution provide ad-hoc reporting capabilities?
    39. Does your product integrate with the SCCM or other RMM/Deployment console or does it require a separate console?
    40. Does your solution provide for Active Directory integration?
    41. Is Active Directory a requirement to use your products?
    42. Does your solution integrate with Crystal Server or other reporting server?
    43. Is it possible to implement any automated deployment rules?
    44. What is the price for your solution?

 

Q: Do you track Microsoft patches/hotfixes?

A: We report on patches and hotfixes that are installed, but we do not report on what has not been installed or any of the security designations for the patches. While collections and reports can be created to show patch/hotfix status, we are not a Windows Update/Patch service and are not able to run an automatic comparison between what is installed and what ought to be installed.


Q: Does Your Solution support a web-based client for user and administrative functions?

A: Not at the time of this writing (2016-09-12). A web-based client is something we are pursuing, though no timeline has been expressed for when this might be implemented. As for user vs. administrative functionality, we do not offer that distinction. Our product needs to be run with administrative privileges and therefore does not have non-administrative functionality.


Q: Does your product provide support for managing Windows 7. 8.x and 10?

A: Yes. In addition to the above products, we also support managing Windows Server 2008x and 2012x. For more information, see our System Requirements page: http://www.adminarsenal.com/system-requirements/

Q: Are your updates pre-built, pre-tested and ready to deploy?

A: Yes. packages available in the Package Library are up-to-date, fully constructed, tested to run silently, and ready to deploy. However, it is encouraged that the release/deployment notes are reviewed for each package prior to deployment, as certain environmental/application conditions may result in unexpected deployment behavior.


Q: Do you provide support if there is an issue installing one of the updates?
A: Yes. Currently we are priced for email support only. Enterprise licensed customers receive priority support, Pro licensed customers receive normal priority support, and Free customers receive support, but with no priority.

Q: Do you provide demonstrations of your product?

A: We do not provide one-on-one demonstrations, however, we have a vast library of tutorials and demonstration videos on our YouTube page that are constantly updated https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHDu-gSMmCaviRiKdo4EL9A. Every Thursday we also host a live webcast that goes over various portions of the products.  

We do also offer a free 14-day trial. A trial does not require a credit card or a lengthy registration process. We don’t pester you or spam you, and we keep your information private. We are all, or have been, system administrators, so we understand that not adding one more sales call or spam message is a good thing.

You can obtain a free trial from the following links:
Deploy: http://www2.adminarsenal.com/TryPDQDeploy
Inventory: http://www2.adminarsenal.com/TryPDQInventory

Q: What are the requirements to install your product?

A: Requirements can be found here: http://www.adminarsenal.com/system-requirements/


Q: Does your product require any kind of a separate agent on the client computer or does it use the SCCM-like agent?

A: One of the benefits of our product is that it is agent-less. We are looking into introducing an agent in the near future as an optional component for those that would like, or are required to have, an agent.


Q: Are you able to provide a trial or evaluation copy of your software?
A: Absolutely. You can obtain a free 14-day trial from the following links:

Deploy: http://www2.adminarsenal.com/TryPDQDeploy
Inventory: http://www2.adminarsenal.com/TryPDQInventory

Q: What are the advantages of your product vs. the competition?

A: Since products differ, this would be a more or less subjective comparison depending on what’s most important to you. We recommend you get a free Enterprise Trial and test out the product to see how our products stack up against the competition in doing what it is you need or want to do.


Q: Do you have end-user testimonials for your product?

A: Testimonials can be found on the homepage of our website as well as here http://www.adminarsenal.com/testimonials/ . From this page, you can click the link to see  Spiceworks reviews and we also have a Reddit channel that has user feedback and ratings.


Q: Does your product provide patch management for Adobe Products, Java, Firefox, Flash, and Chrome?

A: Yes, these are our most used packages and we offer so much more. A full list of the available packages can be seen here: http://www.adminarsenal.com/package-library-list/


Q: Describe how remote devices are patched.

A: We have a document detailing the process our software uses here: https://adminarsenal.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/220509287


Q: What is the turnaround time from vendor release of patches to availability within your product for patch deployment?

A: Generally within a few hours and rarely over 12.


Q: Can you select which patches you want to release?

A: Yes, you have full control over what is or is not patched. Alternatively, with Auto Deployment, you can have software patches silently deploy automatically, removing any need for manual intervention.


Q: Can patches be rolled back?

A: With an Enterprise license, previous versions of packages can be downloaded and deployed. However, in some cases, you would need to uninstall the latest patch/application first.


Q: Can you block notifications from 3rd party apps that you patch?

A: Yes. This is automatically taken care of in in the majority of our Package Library applications.


Q: Are there any controls or scheduling to manage patches going out? So that the network is not over loaded.

A: Yes, we have schedules as well as other performance options, such as number of concurrent deployments, that allow you to make tweaks that will optimize deployments to work best within your environment.


Q: Describe your client support model and service level agreement.

A: We currently offer email support for all customers. Enterprise licensed customers have priority support, Pro licensed customers have normal priority support, and Free customers receive support with no priority. We also have product documentation, http://www.adminarsenal.com/documentation/; our support site, which includes Knowledge Base articles with a Community forum, https://adminarsenal.zendesk.com/hc/en-us; and videos that cover most of the major program features, https://adminarsenal.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/categories/202839567 (or here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AdminArsenal. Every Thursday, we also host a live webcast to review various topics where users can have their questions answered live.


Q: Describe how the application is licensed (i.e. concurrent, per user, per site, etc.).

A: Our licensing model is simple. We license per administrator, per product, that will be accessing each product, either via the console or command line. More information on how we license can be obtained here: http://www.adminarsenal.com/licensing/

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Q: What type and versions of databases are required?

A: Our products include the SQL database and application (we use SQLite 3, https://www.sqlite.org/). No additional database installations are necessary. For a list of other requirements, please see this page, http://www.adminarsenal.com/system-requirements/.


Q: What is the application upgrade process?  How many times per year are there upgrade releases?

A: The upgrade process is simple. Download and install the program executable and within the preferences you can turn on Update Alerts so the Status bar will display alerts when new product updates are available for download. Additionally, you can sign up for email updates when new versions are released.

We generally release product upgrades once a month for either product, for a total of six upgrades per product (PDQ Deploy and PDQ Inventory) per year. Additionally, you can participate in the Betas that are released prior to every new version.


Q: Can patches be deployed automatically to specific groups?

A: Yes, this can be done in a number of ways; groups of target computers can be chosen individually from Active Directory, PDQ Inventory, Spiceworks, a Target List, or even a text file.Additionally, and even more intuitively, deployments can be linked to groups of computers so they always have the most recent membership in that group, such as Active Directory Containers, Spiceworks Groups, and even PDQ Inventory Collections.

Using Auto Deployments, package targets are Dynamic Collections (usually within the Collection Library). Deployments will occur automatically when package updates become available and will update machines that are automicatically (dynamically) placed in the "<collectionname> (Old)" collection.

Q: What forms of authentication are supported?  (ie. Password, biometric, token, etc)?

A: Passwords are currently the only form of supported authentication. We use industry standard AES encryption with three separate keys to keep your data safe. One key is built into the application; one key is stored in the database; and the third is stored in the registry. These last two keys are generated when the application is installed and are unique to your system.


Q: What is the authentication system used?  (i.e.: Active Directory via LDAP, Integrated Windows Authentication, Application, Database, Web Server, other)?

A: For console <-> target communications, Server Message Block (SMB) and AD authentication is used. We use industry standard AES encryption with three separate keys to keep your data safe. One key is built into the application; one key is stored in the database; and the third is stored in the registry. These last two keys are generated when the application is installed and are unique to your system.


Q: Does the application enforce a password policy?

A: Since all users, even service accounts, of PDQ Inventory or PDQ Deploy are regular users, the password policy is defined by either the local security policy or the enforced AD policy.


Q: How often do you test your application for vulnerabilities?

A: We constantly test for vulnerabilities. This is part of our QA process.


Q: How do you report your application vulnerabilities to your customers?

A: Customers would receive email notifications, notifications within the product, and be advised by subscription or website.

Q: Can system logs be sent to a log server?

A: Currently we only report to the Event Viewer (Applications log). We do keep a database of log entries so it could be possible to use SIM or syslog to capture that information, but that is beyond the scope of support.


Q: Does your solution provide reports for patched and unpatched devices?

A: Yes. Some of these are automatic, such as the Collection Library which can be quickly and painlessly turned into reports, and the remainder can be configured.


Q: Does your solution provide reports for unmanaged devices?

A: As unmanaged devices, they can still be part of the database and would therefore be susceptible to reporting. Unmanaged devices can be excluded as well. We only collect a minimal amount of information on non-Windows devices. Some information can be included by manually importing the information into Inventory.


Q: Does your solution provide reports for non-compliant devices?

A: Yes. You can generate these reports using a vast array of filtering criteria and variables. Except in the case of the Collection Library, we don’t access any cloud or vendor to poll current versions of software. This can be done by the administrator, however, and can be streamlined to almost ridiculous levels.


Q: Does your solution provide reports for managed devices that are not communicating?

A: Yes. Since a scan requires communication between the PDQ console and the target computer, reports and/or collections can be configured to capture communication (e.g. online or offline) status.


Q: Does your solution provide reports for failed updates?

A: Yes, and those reports include which machines failed, what step they were on when they failed, what the error was, possible fixes from our documentation, and additional information about the machine and the deployment. Many error messages also include a link to submit the error to Admin Arsenal support should such errors fall beyond the scope and expertise of the user.


Q: Does your solution provide reports on critical issues?

A: Except in the case of deployment and/or scan failures, we only log events impacting PDQ Deploy or PDQ Inventory.

Q: Can reports be scheduled?

A: Yes. In PDQ Deploy, reports are run at the time of the deployment, if Post Deployment Notifications are turned on. In PDQ Inventory, Auto Reports can be set up to run according to a schedule.


Q: Can reports be configured for automatic alerts?

A: Except in the case of Post Deployment Notifications, reports will not send out automatic alerts if certain conditions are met.


Q: Does your solution provide ad-hoc reporting capabilities?

A: Yes. You can generate ad-hoc reports either from an existing or created collection or as a new report within PDQ Inventory. You can also create reports in PDQ Deploy that includes Deployments, Package/Package Library, Schedule, and Target List.


Q: Does your product integrate with the SCCM or other RMM/Deployment console or does it require a separate console?

A: We do not integrate with SCCM or any other product at this time. Our products will work on the same OS as other deployment/management tools, however.


Q: Does your solution provide for Active Directory integration?

A: Strictly speaking, no. While we use Active Directory to add computers, sync with AD OUs and groups, use AD OUs and groups as targets, and utilize AD authentication, we don’t actually make any changes to AD. In PDQ Inventory, we create a collection that mirrors your AD tree but the results are read-only.

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Q: Is Active Directory a requirement to use your products?

A: AD is not a requirement. We have several customers that use a workgroup style setup as well as numerous educational customers that use our product in mixed environments consisting of AD and workgroups (e.g. student labs).

Setup is a little simpler with AD, and there are some gotchas with workgroup setups, but once configured, maintenance is basically the same.


Q: Does your solution integrate with Crystal Server or other reporting server?

A: It does not. We use our own built-in reporting implementation. We do export in a variety of formats, and it is possible to connect to the SQLite database using ODBC for Business Intelligence systems that support ODBC.


Q: Is it possible to implement any automated deployment rules?

A: Yes. PDQ Deploy has the ability to deploy Auto Deployments to PDQ Inventory targets (in the form of Collection Library collections), all of which are about the best things ever. Auto Deployments automatically update your software according to a schedule and when updates are available. Once configured, there is very little, if any, interaction required on the part of the administrator to initiate and maintain the upgrade. Used in conjunction with a Heartbeat trigger, even those machines that are infrequent visitors to the network will receive the necessary update(s) once the machine enters the network.

Auto Deployments are explained in greater details in the following videos:
Introduction to Auto Deployment
Admin Arsenal Live! - Auto Deployment
Admin Arsenal Live! : Auto Deployment Best Practices
Pre and Post-Auto Deployment Steps in PDQ Deploy
And, optionally, a playlist of relevant videos: Auto Deployment


Q: What is the price for your solution?

A: Our pricing is based on a subscription model, with the same price being charged on a yearly basis. Currently, our prices are $500/year per user for an Enterprise license of PDQ Deploy and $500/year per user for an Enterprise license of PDQ Inventory. This $500 for each gives you access to all the enterprise features, updates to the Package Library, updates to the Collection Library, and all program updates within the subscription period. Pro licensing is $250 per product, per year, per person. We do offer government and educational discounts.

For the differences in Free, Pro, and Enterprise licensing, please see the following:
Compare Modes (free, pro, and enterprise)
Package Library (by mode)
Pricing and Purchasing
Licensing

Should you choose to not renew your subscription, you will retain access to all the Enterprise features in the program, but you will not receive updates to the Package Library, the Collection Library, and will not be able to upgrade the program past the last version that was released before your license expiration date.

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