New antivirus software and software deployment tool - June 29, 2015

Upgrading to Sophos and installing Big Fix

Over the next month, IS will undertake two important initiatives: one will dramatically improve our cyber security, and the other will significantly enhance customer service for about 1,000 of our users by eliminating the need for us to physically touch their computers any time we need to patch software or change vendors for University-mandated software (e.g., antivirus software).  We will be upgrading our antivirus/malware protection software to Sophos, and for those 1,000 users mentioned above, we will be installing a software deployment tool named BigFix.

Over the last several months, IS staff have been reviewing antivirus/malware protection packages.  After significant evaluation, we selected Sophos for our end point antivirus/malware protection needs.  Sophos will replace Symantec, which has become very expensive, and which does not offer the full range of protection services that Sophos provides.

We will begin deploying Sophos and BigFix next week.  We have structured our deployment plan to insure that there is minimal-to-no impact on you.  The implementation schedule may be found via the following link:

We will dispatch IS staff on a building-by-building basis to confirm that the BigFix software has been installed on your computer.  If, after taking a quick look at your computer, we see that BigFix has been loaded, then there is nothing more that we need to do.  With the BigFix software download tool installed, the new Sophos antivirus software will be installed on your computer remotely.

If we look at your computer and determine that BigFix has not been installed, we will install it on your computer.  This process is also very quick – it takes about a minute.  After we install BigFix, then Sophos will install remotely onto your computer.

In a few cases after Sophos has been installed, you might see a message that says “Firewall Security Error.”  If that happens, simply reboot your computer, which will clear the error and complete the installation.

If you are not in your office when we stop by, we will try to stop by again later in July and August.  If we still aren’t able to connect with you at that point, we will follow up with you to schedule an appointment to take a look at your computer.

We have also licensed Sophos for your home and personal computer use.  You can find detailed instructions regarding how to download and install Sophos for home computer use at:

Please feel free to direct questions regarding this deployment to Lai-San Malmquist, who can be reached at, or at x1765.

Thanks for helping us protect our campus computing environment.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Another email?  Didn’t you just send one?


So what’s up now?

We wanted to let you know that we will be changing out our antivirus and malware protection software.  We’re also installing a software download tool called BigFix.

What is antivirus and malware protection software?

It's the software that we install on your PC or Mac to protect it against cyber threats, mainly viruses and malware.

What is malware?

According to Wikipedia, malware (short for malicious software) is any software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, or gain access to private computer systems.

Why are you doing this now?

Two reasons.  First, our Symantec license runs out in a few months, so if we're going to switch to a new package, we need to do it now.  Second, we've tested this extensively and are confident that it won't impact you.

Why do you want to get rid of Symantec?

They have continued to increase their prices to the point that they have become very expensive.  Also, their customer service stinks.

Did you just use the word "stinks" in a FAQ?

Yes.  It could have been worse – just be happy with "stinks."

Tell me more about this “BigFix.”  Sounds like a massive coordinated illegal activity at a horse track. 

Well, it could be that too, but we’re talking about a piece of software what allows us to download necessary patches and software to University-owned computers without us having to go and physically touch about 1,000 of our computers.

You mean you actually have to physically touch 1,000 computers to install patches?

As of now, for some kinds of software, yes.

Isn’t that rather antiquated?


How will you install the BigFix software?

For about 3,000 of our computers, it’s already installed.  For the 1,000 computers that need to have it installed, it only takes about a minute.

How do you know whether or not it’s installed on a computer? 

We have to take a quick look at your computer.  This will take less than a minute.

That’s seems crazy.  You mean you can’t tell whether or not BigFix is installed on a computer without looking at it?

Believe it or not, yes.  After we get BigFix loaded onto all of our computers, we won’t have to do this again.  We’re trying to get out of the “crazy” business.

When will you be installing BigFix and Sophos?

During July.  You can find the schedule at:

Assuming you need to load BigFix onto my computer, will you then install the Sophos antivirus software? 

Actually – and this is the beauty of it – no.  We will push out the Sophos antivirus software onto your machine remotely over the network, so we won’t take up any more of your time.  In the future, we’ll be able to do similar patch/new software installations without us having to bother you again.

What happens to the Symantec software currently installed on my computer?

It will be automatically de-installed once Sophos gets installed. 

Do I have to do anything else?

Possibly one thing.  After Sophos is installed, a “Firewall Security Error” message is occasionally displayed.  If you get that message, simply reboot your computer to clear the error and complete the installation process. 

If I happen to be one of the folks that you aren’t able to connect with this summer to get Sophos installed, will my computer still be protected?

Yes.  Our Symantec software will still be on your computer and operational until we get Sophos installed on it, so you’re good.

Can I download and use Sophos on my home/personal computers?

Yes.  You can find download instructions at:

I need an inexpensive go-to red and white wine for summer parties.  What do you recommend?

Curious Beasts Red Wine for your red and Coppola Sauvignon Blanc for your white.  Both are available at Safeway, and at $12 a bottle, you can't go wrong.

This FAQ wasn't that funny.  Are you losing your edge?

That assumes I had an edge in the first place.


anti-virus, big fix