Crescent Electric Supply Company Automates Security Patches

Crescent Electric Supply Company is one of the largest and oldest independent distributors of electrical hardware and supplies in the United States. When the company needed a better approach to performing critical security updates on its servers and applications, the Dubuque, Illinois-based company enlisted the Burwood Cloud Services team for a streamlined solution.

The Challenge: Install and manage critical security update software

With critical security updates on Microsoft’s “Patch Tuesday,” coming out the second Tuesday of each month, updating Crescent Electric’s servers and applications prevented the IT team from focusing on more strategic work. Staffing was an issue because patches for the company’s remote locations could only be deployed after hours to avoid disruption if systems had to be rebooted. Updating the critical applications in Crescent Electric’s data center was also challenging because any patch issue could cause a company-wide outage. In addition, some applications and servers required precise boot sequencing.

The Solution: Use automation and monitoring for smooth patch updating

Selected for its proven network security expertise, the Burwood team recommended using Ivanti software to automate selected critical updates. Then, Burwood could provide ongoing monitoring and trouble-shooting as new patches were deployed. Burwood initially focused on the approximately 132 servers used in Crescent Electric’s remote locations. As most servers required significant updates, the team patched groups of 30 servers each to allow for monitoring, and to minimize the risk to operations.

Burwood developed a strategy to optimize the limited bandwidth of Crescent Electric’s remote locations. For each group of 30 servers, the Burwood Cloud Services team downloaded and staged patches one night and deployed the following night to minimize heavy bandwidth usage and increase efficiency over time. Each group was monitored for issues requiring trouble-shooting.

To ensure transparency and ongoing communication regarding scope, Burwood meets weekly with Crescent Electric leadership. While initial meetings focused on strategy and priorities, the meetings evolved to cover weekly patch updates and whether Ivanti was working as expected.

The Outcome: Enhanced security posture and increased staff bandwidth

Under Burwood’s watchful eye, Crescent Electric’s servers and applications are seamlessly executed each month without disruption to business operations. Freed from the burden of regular patching, Crescent Electric’s IT staff is able to focus on business critical priorities. Burwood is now piloting Ivanti on the company’s critical production systems at its data center.

Burwood Group Services

  • Cloud Operations

  • Patch Management

Burwood brought the expertise and the tools we needed to simplify critical security updates. Their cloud operations services minimize risk to our operations and ensure that our systems are up to date and operating smoothly. Also important, Burwood understood our need to limit the scope of work to focus on critical updates.
— Erich Lemke, Senior Vice President & CIO, Crescent Electric Supply Company