Goverlan’s Scope Actions – Helping You Wear the Many Hats of IT Systems Support

In today’s world of shrinking IT departments, we have to learn to do more with less. Fortunately, with the right tools you can ease those change control nights, respond to emergencies faster, and gain global visibility into your environment.

 

 

A changing IT world needs a more versatile System Admin

Who remembers the children’s book, “Caps for Sale”? There is one picture in the book that comes to mind, where the hat salesman is sitting under a tree wearing several hats.

Caps for Sale

IT support roles have changed a lot over the past 15 years. In a market where IT support positions and budgets are dwindling, support roles have to become increasingly versatile. We are expected to wear more hats than ever before. This is why it’s so important for support teams to find the right tools for the job. I am going to be talking about one such tool in the Goverlan arsenal: the venerable Scope Actions!!

What are Scope Actions?

Gain more power and respond to issues more dynamically

As its names implies, a Goverlan Scope Action is the configuration of a set of actions that is bound to a scope of objects. Since Scope Actions use a push technology to perform the configured tasks, they are perfectly suited in urgent situations where real-time actions and results are critical. Scope Actions allows you to report on or take action on Active Directory objects and computers on demand, in a fast and easy-to-use way. So when I am wearing my Asset Management hat I can get a report on all my hardware with just a few clicks.  Then, when I am wearing the Compliance hat, I can quickly pinpoint the local administrators on workstations.

Anatomy of a Scope Action

When setting up a Scope Action, we need two pieces of information before we begin. We need to know the Who (Scope Module) and the What (Action Module).

The Who:  (not to be confused with the band) can be AD Objects such as users, computers or groups, or it can be actual workstations or servers. Once you have your targets in mind, you can determine how you want to select them. You can select objects by “Ctrl” selecting them from a list, using wildcard searches, an IP subnet, or Active Directory OU. You can even select entire AD Sites or import static lists of objects. The choice is yours based on the particular situation and your organization’s specific needs.

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The What: What actions do you need to accomplish? Typically these might be choosing report properties, setting AD attributes, or executing actions on computers – or any combination of the three!! I could write an entire book on the number of actions available to you when configuring Scope Actions. Think of it this way – anything you can accomplish at the command line or with a script, you can do in a Scope Action, at a fraction of the time and effort.

Here is a personal experience that illustrates how useful Scope Actions can be:

Phone: “Ring….. Ring……”

Me:      “Help Desk. How can I help you?”

User:    “Yea, no matter what website I go to it keeps taking me to some site asking for my bank account and social security number…. Should I put it in?”

Me:      “Umm no…. let me remote control your computer and check….Ok…. somehow your proxy settings were changed to somesite.hasvirus.com.

User:    “Oh, it must have been that suspicious looking file that I downloaded from that suspicious website that I told the entire marketing department to download…”

Me:      “… (thump)”

User:    “Hello…?”

Me:      “Oh sorry I just fell out of my seat… I changed your settings back and cleaned your PC with the antivirus scanner. You should be all set!”

User:    “click…..”

Me:      “You’re welcome…….”
Great, now I have to run an AV scan, reset everyone’s IE proxy settings, and check to make sure everything is clean before anyone else calls in. Luckily I have Goverlan and Scope Actions – I can take care of this in one sweep.

Define:  The Who – Marketing Department. We have an OU for their workstations so I will use that.

Define:  The What – Set up the actions:

1st step – Run the command: “myantivirus.exe /scannow /logfile –{computername}-avlog.txt”.

2nd step – Apply a .reg file with the correct proxy settings.

 

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3rd step – Report on all the proxy settings.

 

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Note: We do the report action in a separate module because it has to report the proxy server after the settings have been applied.

Now we simply click Run, and let the Scope Action do its thing.

Time to complete Scope Action: less than 10 minutes.

Time to execute Scope Action on 30 computers: less than 5 minutes.

Total Time to Resolution: 15 minutes, Disaster Prevention: Unlimited!

 

Conclusion

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of Scope Actions. Other examples of what you can do with Scope Actions include compliance reports, file server content scans, WMI queries, updating user accounts, reporting on Outlook delegate access, etc.

I cannot begin to tell you how many hours I saved in change control nights applying patches, updating software or making general system wide changes with Scope Actions. Scope Actions are very powerful, but remember what Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker: “With great power comes great responsibility”, so test out those Scope Actions thoroughly before implementing!

 

 

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