Strengths: Goes beyond the surface and looks at registry entries and services
Weaknesses: We would have liked to see a user or administrator guide, rather than just a help feature
Verdict: A good product that needs more comprehensive documentation
Avenda's eTIPS appliance provides a solid platform for network access control. With it, system administrators can set policies for wired, wireless and VPN network access and make sure a system meets health requirements before being allowed to join the network.
The appliance can check for the usual suspects such as operating system values, hot fixes, and anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall status. It can also go deeper and check for various registry entries and running services.
Setup of this appliance was quite straightforward. Once it was connected and powered up, we simply connected to it via a console session where we were presented with a short setup wizard that guided us through setting up the general network information. After we completed the initial setup wizard, we were able to connect the web GUI of the appliance.
After logging in to the interface, we were presented with a list of steps to begin configuring the various network devices and policies. The overall layout of the GUI was simple and intuitive to navigate and the main dashboard is customisable, with many drag-and-drop monitors and modules.
Avenda eTIPS has 802.1X, SNMP enforcement, Radius and TACACS+ capability, as well as port mapping and vulnerability scanning built in. It also features the ability to run a policy simulation before it is deployed and there are many deployment templates included.
The only documentation provided was a short quick-start guide, which provided step-by-step instructions on how to connect to the appliance for the initial network configuration and then access the web GUI for the first time. From there, the documentation is provided as context-sensitive help via the web interface.
Avenda provides standard and premium support plans for 15 per cent and 20 per cent respectively of the list price. These options include 8/5 or 24/7 phone and email technical support, as well as remote diagnostics, updates and return and repair services. There is a small support area on the website that includes various datasheets and other resources.
At a price of £4,830 for 500 users for the AS5005, this product is good value for the money. It provides a solid set of access and management controls that are easy to implement and manage.