CA boosts management, security software.CA this week plans to introduce upgraded asset- and security-management software that customers say should help eliminate technology-integration headaches.The Asset Management 11 suite boasts new features that financial assets, but perhaps more important, it includes a central database and consistent agent technology across its components. Integrated Threat Management 8 combines anti-virus and anti-spyware."Integration is the biggest problem anyone would have implementing this type of software, which has to manage different metrics across an enterprise," says Albert Porco, CIO at Kings County Medical Center in New York. "Prior to CA doing the integration, it was simply not feasible for us to perform certain tasks, such as financial-asset management, on our own. We honestly just didn't track it."Porco uses CA applications to perform software distribution, remote control and asset management. Because CA has incorporated a common management database and single agent technology across its products, the CIO says he can start tapping the database for license, versioning and financial data to associate a cost with maintaining some 3,000 desktops and 60 servers.Until recently, CA's $40-per-desktop software could be used to track desktop and server systems and software, but the company hadn't completely tackled managing financial assets, such as determining the cost of supporting a desktop over its lifetime. Competitors HP (via its Peregrine buy) and IBM (with its CIMS Lab purchase last week) have recently added asset management to their technology portfolios."Management vendors are finally applying the data they collect in such a way that it can help make business decisions across departments," says Rich Ptak, principal analyst and founder at Ptak, Noel & Associates.Harry Butler, support center manager at electronics supplier EFW in Fort Worth, says the asset-management capabilities CA provides could help him extend the life of desktop machines and save money for his company."They aren't making huge improvements in PCs every three years anymore, so I could repurpose machines or put off replacing them if I can prove the cost isn't worth the expense," he says.Butler also is taking advantage of the updated agent technology CA announced in November at its annual user conference. He configured the software-distribution application to send one new agent to machines and decommission the three or four agents already running on them."The network people are very happy with that feature, because now they have less sitting on their boxes," he says.Also available this week is Integrated Threat Management 8, a combined anti-virus\/anti-spyware product for Windows-based desktops and servers.Chuck Slenker, systems engineer at Hartford Hospital, in Connecticut, has been beta-testing the software for five months on 5,000 Windows desktops and servers, and says it is much easier to administer than separate agents."The spyware is probably worse than the viruses coming out these days," Slenker points out, noting that once spyware infects a machine, it usually requires a complete reimaging.CA says other plans this year for its Integrated Threat Management offering include adding a desktop firewall function based on technology obtained through its Tiny Software acquisition.Pricing for Integrated Threat Management starts at $60 per desktop. CA will continue to offer anti-virus and anti-spyware as separate products.