Spiceworks 7.1 Boosts Security, Enhances Support Tickets

By Pedro Hernandez
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Following up on the company's big 7.0 release in October, Spiceworks has issued a new update that not only delivers performance enhancements and fixes 500 issues according David Babbitt, Technical Program Manager, but it also introduces three new integrations that presage the platform's app-centric future.

"Every time we do a .0 release, we plan a .1 pretty quickly," Babbitt told Small Business Computing during an interview. The goal this time around, like the mobile device management (MDM) capabilities baked into version 7.0, was to "get our users valuable features," he added.

Upgrading Small Business IT Management

Spiceworks 7.1 lays the groundwork for a small business IT management app ecosystem that blends the company's core network management and helpdesk technologies, expanded functionality via third-party vendors and the collective wisdom of a sprawling community of IT pros. More than 4 million IT professionals and 2,700 technology vendors keep the Spiceworks community active by trading insights, solving problems and making recommendations that help take some of the stress out of making technology work for small and midsized businesses (SMBs).

"As the platform expands, Spiceworks is reshaping how IT professionals research, purchase and use technologies from their favorite brands," Jay Hallberg, co-founder and COO of Spiceworks, said in a statement.

The company's foray into MDM, courtesy of a partnership with MaaS360 by Fiberlink—"one of the tightest integrations that we've done with the platform" said Nicole Tanzillo, director of IT marketing—is an encouraging sign that Spiceworks is on the right track. Tanzillo reported "strong adoption of the platform in the last few months."

Spiceworks Expands Small Business Network Protection

Now the company has three new integrations to help small businesses protect their networks.

AlienVault Threat Alerts, a free option, leverages AlienVault's Open Threat Exchange database to alert administrators to systems that are connected to malicious IPs. AlienVault's database validates an estimated 100,000 malicious IPs each day.

To keep data thieves at bay, the company has teamed with NetClarity. The company's Network Access Control lets customers "block and/or take action against unwanted devices attempting to access their networks, including rogue wireless access points, hackers, and employee-owned devices entering the corporate network," according to the company.

Finally, Spiceworks announced a Webroot integration that allows SecureAnywhere Endpoint Protection customers to manage endpoint security and view real-time alerts within the Spiceworks dashboard.

In addition, Spiceworks has issued new four new help desk plugins that streamline the support ticket process. They include the Help Desk Responses plugin, a tool IT support staff can use to add auto-responses to help requests from end users. The new Custom Time for Tickets plugin allows support providers to customize a help desk ticket's time-spent field to better reflect how long it took to solve a problem.

The Ticket Check Lists plugin adds to-do lists and checklists to tickets, a boon for complex issues. And now, help desk workers can edit or remove comments from a ticket using the Remove Ticket Comment plugin.

Spiceworks 7.1 is available now as a free download.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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This article was originally published on January 16, 2014
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