AutoProf's Policy Maker Software Update 1.1 harnesses Group Policy to manage and deploy patches to clients in Active Directory (AD)­supported domains. The product pulls Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) update data into its own database and adds to it useful information such as references to Microsoft articles and alerts.

You can assign software updates to computers by using Group Policy Objects (GPOs). A benefit of a GPO-based software-update tool is that simply placing a computer into a protected OU ensures it will be eventually updated.

Policy Maker Software Update follows an "approve, then wait to deploy" process that's similar to SUS but provides better patching granularity and displays more useful update information. The product's UI shows an abundance of information--such as whether a patch has been superseded or can be uninstalled.

Like SUS, Policy Maker Software Update accesses Automatic Updates. After you've approved updates and Group Policy has refreshed, the product queues the updates that Automatic Updates will install. You must install a small DLL on every client to add Policy Maker Software Update control capabilities to Automatic Updates. The product provides reports that show basic information about individual updates but don't summarize patch status across your organization.

Policy Maker Software Update 1.1
Contact: AutoProf, 603-433-5885,
Web: http://www.autoprof.com
Price: Starts at $11 per client for 15-99 clients

Decision Summary
Pros: Provides more useful update information and features than SUS; offers GPO-based targeting
Cons: Difficult to immediately scan and remediate one-off computers without waiting for Group Policy or moving computers between OUs
Recommendation: Great replacement for SUS that ensures that all computers under a GPO are always updated.
Rating: 3.5 of 5