Action1 is a cloud-based endpoint security management solution that has added many new features and upgraded the product in the latest cloud platform release. Anyone willing can use the solution for free, with no limitations to manage up to 50 endpoints. This review of the Action1 platform and its released updates will highlight features and capabilities that have been recently added to the platform.
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This past year, in 2020, most organizations underwent a significant shift to a remote workforce. This tremendous change meant that traditional IT support tools and solutions applied on-premises (with the implied network constraints) were no longer effective as workers moved to work from home and other remote locations. IT departments worldwide had to quickly transition their approach to managing, supporting, and patching remote endpoints.

Action1 delivers a much-needed set of features for businesses struggling to meet the challenge of maintaining remote endpoints. The company has been adding new features, extending its capabilities further.

Action1 core features

The following are the core features of the product:

  • Patches and Updates—Action1 allows companies to detect, approve, and install Windows and third-party patches and updates for remote endpoints.
  • Software Deployment—Customers can install/uninstall software and create and deploy customized software packages on remote endpoints.
  • Remote Desktop and Management—Using the new features in Action1, IT helpdesk technicians can access end users' remote desktops without installing any third-party tool. Action1 provides a seamless experience to support remote users, get reports and alerts, and run scripts.
  • IT Asset Inventory—With Action1, IT admins can discover and inventory both hardware and software, both locally and on remote endpoints located anywhere in the world.

Action1 is not designed merely for remote endpoints. It can manage, configure, and secure on-premises Windows resources as well through the cloud console. Using the Action1 Connector installed on a Windows host in your environment, you can quickly scan your network for Windows hosts, onboard the hosts, and roll out the Action1 agent. The Action1 Connector automatically pushes the Action1 agent to machines according to your configuration settings.

The solution manages remote endpoints using this lightweight agent installed in Windows. While "agent-based management" typically has a negative connotation with many IT admins, Action1 has made agent management easy with the previously mentioned Connector, which automatically onboards and installs agents in a Windows domain environment. Its agent installation is streamlined and lightweight. Remote clients found on the internet can be onboarded using a simple link that the end user uses to download and install the agent.

You perform all the agent management tasks directly from the Action1 cloud console. The Action1 agent allows endpoint management no matter where the endpoint is located (on-premises environment, remote office, or a home network). Endpoint management is possible as long as the Action1 agent can communicate with the Action1 cloud.

Action1 has architected the solution's connectivity with no need for ingress connections from the Action1 cloud, only egress SSL communication. The SSL communication between the agent and the Action1 cloud is necessary to enable remote management of Windows nodes.

New features in Action1

Action1 continues to aggressively add new features that strengthen its position and capabilities for supporting remote workers and empowering companies with a cloud-driven security and patch management toolset. Let's highlight its most recent features and capabilities:

  • Deploy updates automatically during a maintenance window
  • Remote desktop access—Connect to any managed endpoint without third-party software
  • Multi-tenancy for MSP and larger enterprises—Create multiple organizations under one Action1 account with an entirely separate list of managed endpoints and data
  • Peer-to-peer software distribution technology that optimizes network traffic usage when large software packages are downloaded
  • Free edition with no limitations offers up to 50 endpoints—Includes everything Action1 provides at no charge and with no ads

Deploy updates automatically during a maintenance window

Action1 has added many significant new features related to Windows updates and patch management. It includes a unique, streamlined experience for Windows updates and patch management workflows, including the ability to perform automatic patch management. You can approve patches for deployment and specify maintenance windows in which to deploy the patches. This automated approach takes the heavy lifting out of patch management for remote workers their remote Windows endpoints. With the cloud agent installed on the endpoint, patch management is seamless and possible from any network, as long as the endpoint can connect to the Internet.

Action1 automatic patch management

Action1 automatic patch management

Remote desktop access

A great new feature in Action1 is remote desktop access. Using the Action1 agent, IT staff can connect to remote Windows endpoints and troubleshoot issues with keyboard and mouse control. There is no additional agent or other software required for installation to enable this functionality. It is a great new feature that will provide helpdesk professionals with the tools needed to thoroughly support and troubleshoot issues for remote employees.

Its key features include:

  • No VPN required—The remote access feature does not require a VPN connection to the client network.
  • Remote connectivity to the Action1 cloud is an outbound connection—Action1 uses a proprietary protocol for communication from the Action1 cloud to the endpoint.
Action1 agent connectivity overview

Action1 agent connectivity overview

  • Action1 secures communication with TLS-based 2048-bit RSA private key encryption.
  • There are no additional subscription or licensing costs for the remote access feature.
  • Free for up to 50 endpoints.
  • It provides unattended remote management and remote assistance. Even when a user is not logged in, Action1 displays a system logon screen when administrators connect.
  • Screen sharing and keyboard/mouse control—If the remote user is logged in, Action1 prompts to accept the remote assistance request and then begins a screen sharing session with keyboard and mouse control.
Launching remote access support from the Action1 console

Launching remote access support from the Action1 console

Requesting remote access support session using Action1

Requesting remote access support session using Action1

Multi-tenancy for MSP

Managed service providers (MSPs) will appreciate Action1's new multi-tenancy for MSP feature. Now, Action1 can effectively provide a platform for MSPs to use for managing multiple customer endpoints. Using the new feature, MSPs can create numerous organizations under one Action1 account with fully compartmentalized and separate managed endpoints and data. It will allow MSPs to leverage a cloud-based platform for managing Windows updates, third-party application patching, IT assets and inventory, reporting, and many other activities for customers.

Peer-to-peer software distribution

In larger environments with many on-premises Windows endpoints, Action1 has introduced a new peer-to-peer software distribution feature that allows other endpoints to pull software updates from neighbor nodes on the network. It makes for much more efficient use of available bandwidth, especially for extensive updates or software downloads.

Free edition with no limitations up to 50 endpoints

Action1 offers an extremely generous number of nodes as part of a free edition of the product. It has no limitations and can manage up to 50 endpoints. Action1 does not show any advertising or other common, revenue-generating "freemium" features.

Impressions on new Action1 features

This past year has significantly changed how organizations support remote workers and manage endpoints. With the global pandemic, remote worker locations comprise dozens, hundreds, or more locations, including home networks. Traditional management solutions geared toward on-premises clients are no longer relevant in the new age of remote work.

Cloud-based solutions like Action1 do not require the traditional network requirements and other constraints of legacy endpoint management solutions. The new features added to the Action1 platform are compelling and help to round out the overall solution it offers. Managing Windows updates and third-party software patching can be challenging, even for on-premises solutions. Action1 effectively manages updates and patching and provides a remote support tool as part of the solution. The Action1 platform continues to grow more powerful with each new iteration.

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