Activeworx Security Center
Strengths: Great functionality at a reasonable price
Weaknesses: Requires some time to learn how to use it to get the most out of the program. You have to buy additional hardware to deploy the product
Verdict: A competent software-only product best suited for small- to medium-sized businesses with some nice reporting and compliance features
We found this product required some time to work with and to learn about its massive capability. Set-up overall was fairly simple, but the user interface is a little clumsy in the beginning. The Security Center desktop is quite overwhelming at first, with multiple view selections, tabs and tree menus. But once we started working with the interface, we found it quite efficient.
Activeworx includes a report center that has more than 200 built-in reports on compliance and other topics. It also gives the user the ability to customize the dashboard, with several different modules to fit the needs of the specific environment.
A combination of event relationship diagrams, clear charts, graphs and logs, plus strong reporting capability make this product a good tool for monitoring security events and alerts. There are several ways to organize data, which helps to analyze possible problems or weak security on the monitored network.
However, we found the process flow chart reporting of events to be less intuitive than other, network-based, representations. The event relationship diagrams ameliorate some of the confusion, but these lack depth of information. Re-playing attacks can be quite useful, if full-packet decodes are available to aid understanding and analysis.
Documentation includes a simple installation guide and an evaluation guide. We found the documentation to be clear and straight to the point. The installation guide provides a walkthrough of the installation wizard and gives some examples of what information needs to be entered at different steps of the process. The evaluator's guide shows several areas of the product and will help the user become more familiar with how the software works. There are some parts of the documentation that are slightly ambiguous, but overall the guides are easy to follow.
Support for this product is offered via a support request form on the CrossTec website or by phone. The Activeworx Security Center is a good investment for a small- to medium-sized business. We found this product to have quite a bit of functionality at an affordable cost. However, since it is software-based, it does require machines for log storage, as well as management stations.