No More Manual Installs
Have you heard this decree from IT management? It never used to have any teeth, but things have changed in recent times, with higher security stakes and the rise in remote work because of Covid-19. This has led to a higher demand for remote deployments of software via a process called application packaging.
Application packaging is the process of automating the silent deployment of third-party applications with appropriate configuration for your environment. Previously, due to the costs associated with packaging, many organisations had criteria for packaging an application - usually that more than 10 people were using it - for it to be worthwhile.
Recently, with the rise of the security products like AppLocker and AppSense (both of which I have used), organisations are taking a more security-based approach, having ordered the immediate extinction of manual installs, and insisting that everything is packaged. Additionally, the rise of the Evergreen model has meant that organisations now expect a more proactive approach to ensuring not only that their Windows boxes are patched, but that the software on Windows is also regularly updated. This requires dedicated monitoring of application updates and a quick turnaround for smooth implementation.
To do this we almost need a "One size fits all" approach. Does such an option exist....?
I submit for your consideration the PowerShell AppDeploy Toolkit (PSADT). It's not new, but it has had regular updates and is a formidable tool for automating even the most stubborn installer. It has builtin options for executable vs. MSI installers, patches, and includes functions that can remove the need for a reboot to apply user configurations in the registry, perform custom logging, and display customised messages to your users if required.
Used correctly, it can be configured so that only minor adjustments are required when a new version of an application is released. In this manner, A single person can manage the evergreen status of hundreds of applications for an entire organisation.
How do I know? Because I've done it.
Want to know more? Feel free to get in touch, and have a look at these examples I prepared earlier.