Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) is one of the most popular systems management tools on the market.
Since the mid-90s, enterprises have used SCCM to administer patches remotely and eliminate vulnerabilities throughout their networks.
However, today there is a range of competitive alternatives that offer a compelling patching experience. In this article, we’re going to look at the eight best SCCM options.
The list includes tools for patching Windows, Linux, macOS, and third-party applications. As part of our comparison, we’re going to look out for tools that offer a mixture of automated patch deployment, reporting capabilities, and remote access that provide a comprehensive patch management experience.
Here is a list of the eight best SCCM alternatives:
- SolarWinds Patch Manager EDITOR’S CHOICE This patch manager matches SCCM exactly because it operates on devices running Windows and can install Microsoft products. Where this system exceeds SCCM is in its ability to patch third-party software. Runs on Windows Server. Get access to a 30-day trial.
- Atera (FREE TRIAL) RMM software with patch management, patch status summary reports, remote access, TLS 256-bit encryption, and more. Access 30-day free trial.
- NinjaOne Patch Management (FREE TRIAL) Remote patch management software for Windows, macOS, and Linux, with support for 135+ applications, scheduling, and more.
- ManageEngine Endpoint Central (FREE TRIAL) Endpoint management software with automatic patch deployment, a vulnerability database, reports, automatic patch testing, and more.
- SecPod SanerNow (FREE TRIAL) A security platform that is delivered from that cloud and includes a vulnerability scanner for networks and endpoints and a patch manager for macOS, Linux, Windows, and software packages.
- Symantec Endpoint Management Endpoint management software with Microsoft and third-party application testing, a patch management dashboard, asset management, and more.
- Automox Patch management software with automated OS and third-party application updates, configuration management, reports, and more.
- ConnectWise Automate RMM and patch management software with automated patch deployment, autodiscovery, remote management, and more.
- GFI Languard Patch management software with automatic network discovery, OS patching, third-party application patching, reports, and more.
The Best SCCM Alternatives
Our methodology for selecting SCCM alternatives
We reviewed the market for patch management solutions that compete with SCCM and analyzed the options based on the following criteria:
- Polling for patch availability
- Creation of a software inventory to identify current patch levels
- The ability to store regular maintenance windows
- A patch queuing system
- Automatic patch rollout
- A free trial or a demo option to enable the software to be examined before buying
- Value for money from an automated patch manager that is offered at a reasonable price
1. SolarWinds Patch Manager (FREE TRIAL)
SolarWinds Patch Manager is a patch management tool that you can use to deploy patches. SolarWinds Patch Manager builds on the capabilities of SCCM by allowing you to patch Windows and third-party applications, like Java, Adobe, or Firefox. You can also use the software to track the availability of patches to ensure you’re protected against the latest known vulnerabilities.
- Remote patching
- Patch status dashboard
- WSUS patch management
- Monitor patch availability
Through the patch status dashboard, you can view the status of patches within your environment. You can also schedule patches to automatically update your devices, reducing the likelihood of leaving unpatched devices in your network.
Out-of-the-box reports enable you to monitor the number of systems that you’ve patched easily. These reports are helpful not only for highlighting what devices you need to patch but also for preparing to comply with regulations like HIPAA.
- Simple dashboard makes it easy to track and visual patches and their progress, even on larger networks
- Integrated directly with SCCM for a smoother patch deployment
- Supports a wide variety of third-party patching options
- The tool is very enterprise focused, may not be the best option for home labs or small networks
SolarWinds Patch Manager is a comprehensive solution for enterprises looking to deploy patches to Windows and third-party applications. Available for Windows. Prices start at $1,976 (£1,429). You can start a fully functional 30-day free trial.
SolarWinds Patch Manager is our top pick for an SCCM alternative because it modifies the standard Windows system so that it will apply patches for third-party software packages as well as Microsoft products. This tool will perform pre and post-installation system checks and is able to order updates according to patch dependencies. You get the option to hold up specific patches for testing or remove them completely before they run. This system will run automatically at the next available maintenance widows and provide a completion status report.
Download: Get a 30-day free trial
Official Site: https://www.solarwinds.com/patch-manager/registration
OS: Windows Server
2. Atera (FREE TRIAL)
Atera is an RMM platform with patch management capabilities that allows you to deploy patches to devices remotely. Atera will enable you to automate your patch management and determine the frequency with which updates are deployed to devices. You can also choose the types of updates the system deploys, from critical updates to security updates, service packs, tool updates, and more. You can even select patches you want to exclude.
- Automated patch management
- Automatic network discovery
A reporting system gives you a comprehensive overview of your patch status. For example, in the Patch Status Summary, you can view the percentage of Out of date desktops and servers displayed as pie charts. In addition, automated network discovery ensures that all your systems are added to your monitoring environment for you to update.
Remote access capabilities enable you to access connected Windows or Mac workstations and servers from any device or browser. All remote sessions are encrypted with TLS and 256-bit encryption so that you don’t have to worry about unauthorized users snooping on your activity.
- Minimalistic interface makes it easy to view the metrics that matter most
- Flexible pricing model makes it a viable option for small businesses
- Includes multiple PSA features, great for helpdesk teams and growing MSPs
- Can track SLAs and includes a time-tracking option for maintenance tasks
- Focuses heavily on MSP-related tools, other businesses may not be able to utilize multi-tenant features
Atera is a complete solution for enterprises that want to automate patch management and interact with devices remotely. Agents are available on Windows and macOS. Pricing starts at $99 (£82.60) per technician for the Pro version. You can start the 30-day free trial.
3. NinjaOne Patch Management (FREE TRIAL)
NinjaOne Patch Management is a remote patch management solution that offers remote patching for Windows, macOS, and Linux systems. The platform also supports third-party patching for over 135 applications from providers like Adobe, Apple, Apache, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, UltraVNC, and more.
- Patch Windows, macOS, and Linux systems
- Support for over 135 applications
- Remote access capabilities
You can use the software to automate patch deployment. For instance, you can configure scan schedules, reboot options and determine what type of updates are automatically approved. This enables you to update your entire environment more quickly and eliminates the need to update devices manually.
There are also several integrations included for the platform that supports remote access. With integrations for TeamViewer and Splash top, you can connect to any device with a single click. Remote sessions are encrypted by TLS and 256-bit encryption to ensure that all activity is protected.
- Can silently install and uninstall applications and patches while the user works
- Patch management and other automated maintenance tasks can be easily scheduled
- Platform agnostic web-based management
- Lacks support for mobile devices
NinjaOne is an excellent remote patch management tool for enterprises that need to maintain cross-platform systems. Available on Windows and macOS. To view pricing information for this product, you need to contact the company directly to request a quote. You can start a 14-day free trial.
4. ManageEngine Endpoint Central (FREE TRIAL)
ManageEngine Endpoint Central is an endpoint management software that you can automatically deploy patches to Windows, Mac, Linux, and third-party applications. In addition, ManageEngine Endpoint Central maintains a vulnerability database that regularly gathers data on new patches and vulnerabilities whenever synced with Zohocorp’s Central Patch Repository.
- Patch Windows, Mac, Linux, and third-party applications
- Vulnerability database
- Schedule patch deployment
- Mobile app
Every time the vulnerability database is updated, ManageEngine Endpoint Central launches a patch scan, scanning all systems for missing patches. To deploy patches, you can configure a deployment policy to schedule patch deployment. The policy will allow you to pick when to install patches.
Automatic patch testing and approval reduce the risk when deploying applications by enabling you to test applications before they’re installed. Create test groups to try out new patches and specify how many days it should take for widespread deployment of the patches.
- Flexible deployment options across multiple platforms
- Can be installed on both Windows and Linux platforms, making it more flexible than other on-premise options
- Offers in-depth reporting, ideal for enterprise management or MSPs
- Integrated into more applications than most patch management solutions
- MangeEngine is a feature-rich platform that takes time to fully explore and learn
ManageEngine Endpoint Central is one of the top SCCM tools on this list that can deploy patches to a wide range of applications. Available on-premises and in the cloud. Free edition available for enterprises with up to 25 computers and 25 mobiles. Prices start at $795 (£575.17). You can start a 30-day free trial.
5. SecPod SanerNow (FREE TRIAL)
The SecPod SanerNow CyberHygiene Platform is a SaaS package that includes a vulnerability manager, a patch manager, continuous posture anomaly management, and compliance management. The posture management system is a vulnerability manager for cloud platforms. So, the services of the package boil down to a vulnerability scanner with a patch manager for resolution and compliance reporting based on the logs of the service.
- Automated inventory management
- Vulnerability scanner
- OS patching for Windows, macOS, and Linux
- Patching for 400 software packages
The cloud-based system operates through agents that are installed on endpoints and cloud platforms. These agents scan the network and endpoints to create hardware and software inventories. They also perform vulnerability scanning, working through a list of more than 160,000 vulnerabilities.
Software-related problems are resolved by the patch manager. SanerNow maintains a library of patches for operating systems and more than 400 software packages. When installed software is found to be outdated, the relevant patches are scheduled for installation.
- A central library that stores patches for known software packages and OSs
- Full documentation for vulnerabilities and resolution to provide compliance reporting
- A cloud-based system that can manage multiple sites in one account
- Automated patch management with completion status reporting
- Only patches 400 software packages
SanerNow provides compliance reporting for HIPAA, PCI DSS, NIST 800-53, NIST 800-171, and ISO. this system also includes a lot of process automation, which saves the time of expensive technicians. You can try the SanerNow CyberHygiene Platform with a 30-day free trial.
6. Symantec Endpoint Management (IT Management Suite 8.6)
Symantec Endpoint Management is an endpoint management solution that you can use to patch Microsoft and third-party applications. With Symantec Endpoint Management, you can monitor Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems for vulnerabilities.
- Patch Microsoft and third-party applications
- Patch management software
- Compliance reports
- Web console
The platform comes with a patch management dashboard where you can see the level of patch risk throughout your environment and the number of vulnerable computers by severity with the assistance of graphs and charts. In addition, compliance reports provide you with an overview of your system’s patch status.
An asset management view and Asset Control Dashboard allow you to manage the relationships between assets and configuration items throughout your network. For instance, you can view the license status of assets, unauthorized usage of applications, and underutilization to ensure you’re not paying for unnecessary software licenses.
- Simple and intuitive user interface, great use of color to display key metrics
- Cloud-based service makes desktop management flexible, especially for remote teams
- Flexible pricing makes it a great choice for any size network
- Offers configuration profiles that streamlines onboarding new devices
- Would benefit from a longer 30-day trial period
Symantec Endpoint Management is a solid solution for companies needing a simple but effective endpoint management solution. Available on Windows. To view pricing information for this product, you need to contact a distributor directly. You can find a distributor from this link here.
Automox is a patch management tool that allows you to automatically update OS and third-party applications. Third-party applications supported by Automox include Adobe Acrobat Reader DC, Dropbox, Google Chrome, iTunes, Microsoft OneDrive, Microsoft Skype, MS Office 365, Opera, PuTTY, Slack, and more.
- Automated OS and third-party applications
- Configuration management
- Role-based access control
Automated configuration management allows you to deploy configurations to systems throughout your network. Automox workouts will enable you to create scriptable actions via PowerShell or Bash so you can complete automation actions on systems. The feature also offers several security settings, including the option to blacklist software, enforce password settings, lockdown USB access, and more.
Another helpful feature is Role-based Access Control, which allows you to assign roles, and set permissions for users and groups to determine who can access what resources. For example, you can post a user the role of patch admin, giving them the ability to control device policies or assign them with read-only access.
- Highly visual, create use of colors and graphics to display top-level patching insights
- Supports custom scripts for custom patching workflows
- Can patch Windows, Linux, Mac, and third-party applications such as Chrome and Adobe
- Pricing is based on number endpoints, making it a scalable patch management option
- Would like to see better patch prioritization
- Scheduling could use improvement, better protections from accidentally forced shutdowns
Automox is worth looking at if you’re looking for a cost-effective solution for managing endpoints. The agent is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. Free for 15 days. Pricing starts at $3 (£2.17) per device per month. You can start the 15-day free trial from this link here.
8. ConnectWise Automate
ConnectWise Automate is an RMM and patch management tool that enables you to deploy patches to devices. In addition, ConnectWise Automate offers automated updates for third-party applications, including Adobe Reader XI and DC, VLC Media Player, Apple iTunes, Mozilla Firefox, Amazon Corretto, Adobe Shockwave, Google Chrome, and more.
- Automatically update 3rd party applications
- Remote management
- 100+ pre-configured commands
The platform comes with an autodiscovery feature that detects devices and automatically deploys monitoring agents. Once a device is connected, you start to deploy updates and use a remote management feature to remotely issue commands to endpoints from over 100 pre-configured commands.
There is also a range of other automation options you can use to eliminate administrative tasks. For instance, you can conduct automated maintenance, schedule automated reports, and generate random passwords.
- Can help NOC teams automate repetitive tasks
- Integrates well into the ConnectWise ecosystem with tools such as ConnectWise Control
- Can be used as an all-in-one tool for RMM, inventory management, and PSA
- Best suited for large enterprises and MSP environments
- Designed for larger networks and multi-tenant use – not the best option for small networks
ConnectWise Automate is worth looking at for enterprises in need of a patch management solution with an abundance of automated features. Available for Windows and Linux. To view pricing information for this product, you need to request a quote from the company directly. You can start the free trial from this link here.
9. GFI LanGuard
GFI Languard is a network monitoring and patch management tool that automatically scans your network for connected systems and adds them to the monitoring environment. With GFI Languard, you can patch Windows, macOS, and Linux systems and a range of third-party applications.
- Windows, macOS, and Linux patching
- Third-party patch management
- Patch web browsers
- Vulnerability assessment
Third-party apps supported by GFI Languard include Apple QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Adobe Shockwave Player, Mozilla Firefox, Mozilla Thunderbird, Java Runtime, and more. It’s worth noting that you can also use the software to patch web browsers, including Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Opera.
The software can also run vulnerability assessments and combine OVAL and SANS Top 20 to identify vulnerabilities in connected systems. Assessments provide you with a heads-up when you need to update devices. In addition, you can create and schedule reports to generate in formats including PDF, HTML, XLS, XLSX, RTF, and CSV.
- Multi-platform support for Microsoft, Linux, and Mac
- Includes support for patching other popular third-party applications like Adobe, Java, and Runtime
- Simple, yet effective interface
- Built-in vulnerabilities assessment uses patch information to help gauge risk for security teams
- Would like to see more features for scheduling patches
- Could use more up-to-date support for newer third-party applications
GFI Languard is a helpful solution if you want to patch cross-platform systems and third-party applications. Available on Windows. Pricing starts at $26 (£18) for 10-49 nodes. You can start the 30-day free trial from this link here.
Choosing an SCCM Alternative
There are many high-performance alternatives to SCCM on the market, giving you lots of choices when deploying a new solution. Tools like SolarWinds Patch Manager, NinjaOne Patch Manager and ManageEngine Desktop Central stand out as alternatives that offer you a complete patch management experience at a competitive price point.
However, we recommend researching and trying out multiple products to make sure that you find a solution that fits your environment and priorities, whether that’s a tool with greater automation or remote access options or something else entirely.
Is intune a replacement for SCCM?
Microsoft has redefined SCCM to be part of the Microsoft Endpoint Manager, which is an on-site solution. Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based endpoint manager that includes patching capabilities. As Intune is able to perform the same tasks as SCCM, many businesses might prefer Intune over SCCM as they migrate more services to the cloud. So, Intune might end up being a replacement for SSCM for many businesses while not being the official replacement.
Does SCCM cost money?
System Center is not free and SCCM is part of that suite. Currently, the package price starts at $1,323 per year. The tool is also included in the Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) plan.
Does SCCM work with Linux?
SCCM runs on Windows Server but it operates across a network to patch endpoints running Windows, Unix, and Linux. The support for Linux and Unix machines will be removed during 2023. For macOS and mobile operating systems, you should use Intune.