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My organization is unhappy with our current antivirus/antimalware solution and are looking to make a change. The organization consists of two sites, one with about 80 clients and one with about 30. We're a Microsoft shop and most of our IT staff has been impressed with Microsoft Security Essentials, so I wanted to look into Forefront Endpoint Protection for this, but understand that it's part of System Center Configuration Manager which is something we don't currently use and have no experience with.

Can anyone give me sort of a general impression of SCCM and its complexity? Would it be overkill for an organization our size? Would System Center Essentials be an option given that we've got two sites to manage (my impression was that it was for a single site)? Can SCCM be used, at least initially, in sort of a limited fashion as just a central management and reporting tool for FEP?

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To directly answer your question, SCCM is not all that complex... It takes a little toying around with, and you can achieve most of the basic functionality.

You may however end up with a case of sticker shock when you see how much those two individual components will cost the company. If (like you already mentioned) you are a full blown Microsoft shop, you may already have some form of EA in place... If that's the case, you may already have licensing, or you may be able to talk to your TAM about what your options are...

If I remember correctly Microsoft now offers a CORE EA which includes exchange, forefront, SCCM, SCSM, SCOM and Lynx client licensing...

Again, your concerns shouldn't be with how difficult SCCM will be to use, it's simple... The bigger concern (in my opinion) would be whether or not your organization can afford Forefront and SCCM.

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I'm preety sure you can install ForeFront without SCCM so cost can be lowered. But indeed costs of SCCM and additional cost of CAL for SCCM is crucial here. – MadBoy Apr 12 '11 at 13:58
Absolutely, Forefront can be licensed individually... The OP would need client licensing as well as server, not to mention the hardware... The catch here is that Microsoft prices individual components insanely high. Their whole scheme is to get people on enterprise agreements... Everything is considerably cheaper through "packages". Being a small shop, i think the first order of business should be to get some pricing to find out if the technical side is even worth investigating... – Ryan32 Apr 12 '11 at 15:16
Thanks for answering and I'll definitely look into pricing. I assume that to get centralized management & reporting you do need SCCM? Everything I've read says that SCCM is a requirement. – Mike Powell Apr 12 '11 at 20:50

There's no need to install SCCM in the network. However SCCM has all other advantages like patche deployment and alike making WSUS unnessecary. But if you would like to give it a try by just using clients you can do so.

SCCM is basically new SMS 2003. It can be widely used for software deployment, for reporting about software, etc. It has many advantages and 80 clients should be enough. No matter how big/small is your organization it's all about costs. If you can afford it you can have a single place "a go to" place where you do all the deployments, patch management and reporting. Having antivirus integrated with it is just and add-on.

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To get SCCM going to the point you could deploy FEP is a fair amount of work.

  • SCCM Server setup & Configuration along with many site services
  • ConfigMgr Clients on all the desktops
  • SQL Reporting Services working
  • FEP Server install and configuration

If you haven't had hands on with SCCM you should take a few days and grab a trial to see if you find it complicated. I feel like it could be fairly intimidating.

If you have a method to deploy and maintain Security Essentials that is working for you then I would stick with that.

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