Strengths: Focuses on all unknown files
Weaknesses: Management of endpoints restricted to Microsoft clients
Verdict: A good product with a narrow feature set. It is closer to a module of other offerings than a complete one itself
Bit9 Parity is a software tool in the class of endpoint protection devices, which use whitelisting of files to secure the endpoint. The management of endpoints, however, is restricted to the Microsoft family of operating systems.
As with most endpoint security products, Parity uses a three-tiered architecture where only two of the three layers reside on the customer premises. The three layer Bit9 Parity is the agent for protecting desktops, laptops and servers against non-compliant applications. Bit9 Parity Server is the component responsible for creating the policy for the agents.
The off-site component is Parity-Center, which is used for identifying new and unknown software on a computer and is located at fileadvisor.bit9.com.
The managed computers require agents to communicate with the Parity Server and enforce policy. Typically, the agent is deployed when the user uses a web browser to access the Parity Server. The agent software is then downloaded and installed on the client machine. Beyond the agent being installed, endpoint security also requires a policy to be defined.
When policies are defined, an agent installation package (an .msi file) is automatically created for the policy. This agent is deployed to the workstations by using either Active Directory or a software deployment system, such as Microsoft's SMS Server. The hardware requirements for the Parity Server is inline with other servers in this category. The installation of the server package is easy, and the support documentation walks you through the installation.
Bit9 does not offer free support. Help is offered in two levels: standard, which is eight hours a day, five days a week and premium, which is 24/7. The standard support package is 20 per cent of the initial purchase price, while premium support is 25 per cent of the purchase price. Once a package has been bought, Bit9 offers help through email, phone and a password-protected web database.
The pricing for Parity is based on per seat licensing. This puts the tool at the upper end of the price range.