NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager
Strengths: Solid policy compliance management for many system types throughout the network
Weaknesses: Still requires a fair amount of work to get up and running
Verdict: Requires good personnel resources for deployment, but is a solid performer
NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager provides a feature-rich platform for monitoring and ensuring policy compliance throughout the network environment. It provides management and monitoring of many systems throughout the network, including Microsoft Windows systems, Linux, Unix, VMware ESX, databases, web servers running internet information services (IIS) and network-attached storage. It can help administrators easy detect and remediate systems that are out of configuration compliance based on risk and severity, which ensures that critical systems stay safe and within requirements.
Installation and deployment is quite a process, as we found last year. Not much has changed in getting all of the components set up and running. The initial installation comprised getting a Windows Server 2008 R2 installation running with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and IIS. After the server is ready and loaded with a couple other prerequisites, the installation can begin. Once the server is properly prepared, we found the overall installation of the product was quite straightforward and well automated.
We were able to easily access the management console and begin configuring the product. Overall, we had an easy time of configuring the various features and functions, and remain quite impressed with the layout and organisation of the many dashboards, visual charts and graphs that help to easily find and remediate problem areas or systems out of compliance.
This product comes fully loaded with many compliance-based reporting templates ready to go out of the box, including PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX and NERC CIP (critical infrastructure protection). Furthermore, we like the added functionality of being able to find and report on user privileges to certain systems to ensure that all entitlements are up to date and correctly provisioned.
Documentation included a few guides in PDF format, including an installation guide that details the installation and initial configuration steps in a clear and well-organised format. All documentation provides a good amount of detail and step-by-step instructions, but there are no screenshots and few visual examples throughout the entire set.
NetIQ provides basic support to customers at no cost with the purchase of the product. Additional assistance is available through a support and maintenance program and provides essential and premium levels at 12/7 and 24/7, respectively. Support options include phone- and email-based technical aid and access to online resources such as a knowledgebase and documentation downloads.
NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager is priced based on a per server software licence model. Pricing starts at £834 per server, which we think is excellent value for money overall. While it does require a little bit more work on the front end to get everything up and running, we find that the features and capabilities are well worth the effort.