SCCM Agent - FAQ


The University is implementing a managed operating environment (MOE) for end user computers, using best practice methodologies and tools. This will include the review and implementation of tools for:

  • Hardware asset lifecycle management
  • Software lifecycle management
  • Configuration and update management for Windows, Mac and Linux platforms.

The University will be using the Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) system, an enterprise configuration management solution for devices running Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The first stage is the configuration of the ANU SCCM infrastructure and the rollout of the SCCM agent to Windows computers to enable the gathering of hardware and software data.


Why is this happening?

A managed operating environment will enable faster, streamlined and efficient deployment of software, a consistent desktop user experience as well as improved visibility and reporting of software and hardware assets across the University.

How will this affect my computer?

A small software utility known as an "agent” will be installed onto the computer.  The agent runs in the background and will not interfere with the operation of the computer.  

The agent will be deployed on computers by Local IT Support Staff (LITSS) using the current software deployment practices. The agent will become active after a single reboot at the time preferred by the user.

After the installation of the agent, the agent’s configuration will be visible in the “control panel” section of the Operating System.

The agent provisions a utility called the Software Center which facilitates software deployments for the user. In the first stages, the Software Center will be visible, however, there will not be any applications listed until later stages.  The Software Center will be visible in Programs and Applications on Windows 7 and Apps Section on Windows 8.1 and Windows 10.

What does the SCCM agent do?

The agent communicates to the ANU SCCM server infrastructure which stores a database of computer and application information.  All communication between the agent and the server is encrypted.

The SCCM system has been customised to collect only targeted asset data.  It performs no other actions. The data gathered will be:

  • Hardware Specifications
  • Installed Applications
  • Windows Services Running
  • Available Software Updates
  • Local User Accounts and Login/Logout Timestamps
  • Security Status (eg. Firewall, Antivirus)
  • Connected Peripheral Devices

No personal information is collected, such as the contents or names of user files such as documents, email, or any browsing history.  The data gathered is stored in the SCCM databases located within the secure ANU datacentres.

What information is gathered?

The following information will be collected from the users’ machine:

  • Operating System: RAM, OS Version, OS Service Pack level.
  • Processor: CPU Core thread, CPU Speed, OS Address Width, CPU Manufacturer, CPU Core count, CPU Name, CPU Type, CPU count.
  • Disk: Disk Type, Short Description, Manufacturer, Device ID, Last Discovered, Name, Computer, Disk Space.
  • Network: DHCP Enabled, MAC address, name, Netmask, last discovered, IP Address, default gateway.
  • Software: Software packages installed (Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, iTunes, etc.).
  • Last Login: last account logged on to that computer.

Who has access to the collected information?

Only authorised ANU IT personnel in line with ANU policies and whose role requires it will be able to access the data stored in the ANU SCCM Databases.   

What happens when the machine is rebooted or starts up?

The agent will have no impact when the machine is restarted. The agent will auto start when the computer is restarted and will continue to run in the background.

What happens when I take my machine off the ANU campus?

There is very minimal difference between the behaviour of the agent for those machine located on-campus (within the ANU) and off-campus. If the computers are off-campus, the agent is configured to limit the bandwidth usage to a bare minimum and software deployment functionality will be limited based on the detected internet speed the computer is connected to. The agent is configured to update only the detected changes and strives to limit the bandwidth usage to a minimum.

The typical data transfer between the SCCM agent and the ANU SCCM Servers will be approximately 1 MB and occurs daily within defined timeframes.