Microsoft System Center Essentials provides a very good and intuitive interface to not only monitor devices and systems, but also to update Windows clients and servers. Used along with the Shavlik SCUPdates CAB files (recently introduced) you can also manage third-party patching from vendors such as Adobe, Apple, Citrix, Mozilla, Opera, Real, Skype and Sun.
Using SCUPdates with System Center Essentials
You’ll need to download and install Microsoft System Center Updates Publisher from here before beginning.
1) Open System Center Updates Publisher and select import from the actions pane.
2) Select ‘Single catalog’ and navigate (or copy/paste) to the location of the SCUPdates package(s).
There are generally 3 packages from Shavlik and each will have to be imported separately.
3) Once all packages have been imported you’ll need to select the updates you wish to be available from SCE. This can be done from the top-level (i.e. vendor name) or by individual update. Right click on the update(s) and select, Set all publish flags > Full content.
You’ll notice the flag colour of the selected updates change to green
4) Select import from the actions pane – this will import all published updates into SCE.
5) Open SCE. From the SCE updates menu you’ll now be able to filter the newly imported updates into vendor groups by selecting a new view and choosing the ‘applicable with specified products’ option and entering the vendor name, i.e. Adobe. This step makes deploying a lot easier.
6) Updates can then be rolled out in the same way Microsoft patches are configured.
Overall I found this a very cost-effective and efficient way of patching third-party products, and all without the need to purchase a separate package.
More information (and a free trial) on SCUPdates can be found here.