Strengths: Valuable functionality, Windows integration
Weaknesses: Be prepared for some configuration and ongoing admin
Verdict: An innovative and truly useful product
Even comprehensive security at the desktop and network periphery can sometimes be defeated by something as simple as a USB stick or mobile device. But solutions have been few and far between.
DeviceWall uses a policy-based approach, together with local agents, to manage the use of USB flash drives, comms devices such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and modems, and even printers and scanners.
It also offers encryption of data on USB drives (64Mb and above) to enable the secure movement of data, using Blowfish and AES 256-bit algorithms. As Centennial correctly points out, this facility should not be regarded as a data backup method, but more as secure temporary storage of data copied from an original source.
Aimed at Windows environments, DeviceWall can inherit users and groups from an existing Active Directory as a useful start point from which to develop access control policies. You can also develop a device "whitelist," which might be useful where organisations want to issue staff with company-approved devices. Courtesy of the resident DeviceWall agent, these policies and controls remain effective even when PCs are not connected to the network (as with laptops).
The Policy Control Center, as the name suggests, provides a management console for policy development and deployment. It also provides a reports facility for browsing audit trails of external device usage. A separate dynamic activity monitor provides a system tray icon which, when activated, shows a simple count of all connection attempts.
A wide range of device types are supported, from PDAs and smart phones, to optical drives and portable media, providing a useful level of management and control. This is an interesting product providing specific functions that, for some organisations, could be invaluable in mitigating the risks of using portable media.
Of course, you could simply disable all associated ports and drives, but that would also remove the benefits of legitimate use. DeviceWall provides a useful and practical answer which, with a little intelligent configuration, can give you the best of both worlds, providing you have a Windows 2000 or later server and client environment.