Applied Security fideAS 3.3
Strengths: Decent set of features
Weaknesses: Complex set up and comparably high price
Verdict: Lack of support resources does not gel with high cost
Applied Security fideAS is a client/server-based architecture that provides software-based encryption for files, folders and peripheral devices on host machines. Server and client components are installed on Windows-based operating systems, and the solution supports Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista and Windows 2008. The server application configures policy and pushes the policy out to the Private Agent, which is the client component.
Installation on our Windows 2003 test server was difficult, such that we would recommend only cryptographic experts handle the install. This was not the easiest software solution to set up in our test environment. For instance, you must choose some preliminary PKI settings, export them to an XML file, email this file to Applied Security - and then wait for a signed file that you import back into the solution. This step should have been integrated into an automated process.
Once we cleared the install hurdle and deployed the client product, fideAS provided great encryption functionality within our environment. Although this is not a full disk encryption product, its ability to encrypt and decrypt files on the fly is impressive. It also offers enforcement of the 'four eyes' principle that needs two people to access flagged confidential files. There is a heavy emphasis on logging, as evidenced by the focus on off-loading events to Syslog and writing messages to output windows that can be examined by administrators.
Although ample support files were included in PDF format, some of the screenshots and text were in German. This gave the material an inconsistent look and feel. As a whole, the PDF documentation provided good detail, with screenshots that allowed us to configure the semi-complex initial setup.
Pricing for fideAS starts at £86 per seat for 1-9 users. Various maintenance contracts can be purchased, but a basic support offering includes 8/5 phone and email support and starts at £19 per user for a one-year contract and £36 per user for a three-year contract. Applied Security's support site is virtually non-existent. All in all, the solution feels a bit more expensive than others and for a roughly 20 per cent greater purchase price, Applied Security should offer a much better support portal for its customers.