There are a lot of reasons why companies should buy their licences with Software Assurance. One of the main advantages is the right to use the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, which includes AGPM – Advanced Group Policy Management.
AGPM is a tool that will increase the control you will have over your group policies. This toll will help you avoid issues like the one descibed at “Group Policy Management – Steve and Nick’s Tale”.
The key components in Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management are:
AGMP provides a secure archive for controlling changes to GPOs. In order to change a GPO, an administrator has to “check out” the GPO from the voult. When the changes are complete, the GPO gets “checked in” to the vault. Differences between archived versions and live versions are reviewed on the reports tab. When a GPO is ready for deployment it can be transferred to the live environment. The main advantage of this process os that a group policy can be “rolled back” to an archived version.
Group Policy is the centerpiece of security and configuration management on Active Directory®-based networks, and, as such, configuration changes can affect a large number of computers. Offline editing enables you to configure and test changes without impacting live operations, and to deploy those changes with the knowledge that they can be quickly reverted if there are unexpected consequences.
Group Policy provides a rich delegation model, allowing administration tasks to be delegated to regional or task-oriented administrators. This is a significant advantage over scripting and utility products. However, the native delegation model allows Group Policy administrators to approve their own changes.
Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management improves on this by providing an optional workflow process that includes rolebased delegation, review, and approval before deployment to a live environment. At the same time, it preserves the granular delegation inherent in native Group Policy.
Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) is the central management interface for Group Policy. Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management provides smooth integration within GPMC.
If you want to learn more about AGPM go to the Microsoft Springboard Website, where you can find documentation, videos, guides, etc.