Campus strengthens cybersecurity, expands use of BigFix

BigFix, a widely used software that helps UC Davis protect information and deter cyber-attacks, is going to be deployed campuswide.

In December, Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter announced that UC Davis has selected and purchased BigFix as a campuswide systems-management tool to improve UC Davis' information security posture and IT efficiency. He has directed that BigFix should be installed on every campus -owned or -managed laptop and desktop computer as soon as possible.

An exceptions process is available.

About 16,000 computers in various UC Davis units and departments already use BigFix, some for several years. The campus is paying for 30,000 licenses, including the existing 16,000, but excluding the UC Davis Health System.

IT system administrators use BigFix to:

  • Centrally apply updates, patches, security upgrades, and applications to individual computers, and ensure that computers have current patches and anti-virus software. Keeping software current is essential to good information security.
  • Identify security risks, and respond quickly to cyber-attacks.

BigFix is also used widely at other University of California campuses, including Berkeley, San Francisco, Irvine, and Santa Cruz.

Goal: Install most of the new locations by April

UC Davis will apply BigFix to as many laptops and desktops as possible by the end of March, to maximize an energy rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric. The utility promotes the software's potential for helping customers optimize energy use, although that's not a main motive for UC Davis to buy the licenses.

In a second phase of the BigFix project later this year, UC Davis will evaluate how best to use other features of the software to help manage the campus computing environment. Any proposals will be shared a nd discussed with the campus.

Individuals can install BigFix on their own. Faculty are most likely to be interested in that feature. However, most installations will likely be done in batches by IT administrators in various campus units.

Attention managers, heads of units

The project to install BigFix is directing most of its current outreach to campus managers, assistant deans and department heads--people responsible for helping to establish and enforce information security best practices for the systems and data they oversee. They should ensure that their IT professionals know about BigFix and are working to install it.

For more information, including links to an FAQ, please see the entry in the IT Service Catalog.

Information and Educational Technology is working on the project with the Office of the Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer.