GuardianEdge Encryption 9.1
Strengths: Good features at a moderate price
Weaknesses: Server installation can be somewhat obscure. Limited as an Active Directory-only install
Verdict: A solid product that, while it can be cumbersome to install, contains many useful enterprise-class features
GuardianEdge Hard Disk Encryption is an Active Directory integrated full disk encryption solution. The product is based on a client/server architecture, and secures client endpoints through software-based encryption mechanisms. The server components are only compatible with Active Directory and client machines must be part of the domain in order to receive policies. The server components use Windows 2003, while client software can be installed on Windows 2000, Windows XP or Vista.
Installation of the product was very involved. It requires ADAM; and configuration of the product on a Windows 2003 server machine involves many different and sometimes complex steps. The installation guide alone runs to 165 pages, and getting the ADAM instance up and running does take some time, especially if particular details are not followed correctly or in sequence. Once client and server components are installed however, technical stakeholders will appreciate some of the complexity. Integrating with Active Directory helps to enforce some separation of duties as well, between stakeholders who will create policy and those who might be applying it at the server level. Certain options within the server software can restrict Active Directory snap-in features, to ensure that delegation of tasks is based on proper roles.
From a client perspective, pre-boot authentication and support for multi-factor authentication devices are standard features. Single sign-on features are also compatible with certain Novell products. There are granular features to help support the encryption of data at client endpoints and the performance doesn't disappoint.
As stated earlier, documentation is more than adequate. The PDF files are both extensive and verbose. Every step of the installation and configuration of the product is detailed and can be referenced through easy-to-use indexes.
The product starts at £84 per endpoint, and volume licensing is available. It is sold with one year of maintenance and support included in the price. Additional years of support can be purchased at standard and premium levels, priced at 20 per cent and 30 per cent of the software licence fee respectively.