Pearl Echo Suite
Strengths: Good feature set with an easy-to-use interface
Weaknesses: Limited flexibility, no real extras, really just a comprehensive web filter
Verdict: Competent product but missing some flexibility in policy management
The Pearl Echo Suite provides monitoring and control on many web-based fronts. This product features an expansive URL filter, email management for both Exchange and web-based applications, chat, plus IM blocking, and control of file transfers.
We found the suite easy to install and deploy. The server can be installed anywhere on the network, as long as the machine is a domain member and can communicate with other computers on the network. Once the server is installed, clients can be deployed as MSI files throughout the domain via group policy.
We found the management interface to be quite bare and simplistic. Navigation was straightforward since there is not much to the interface itself.
Where we started to find problems with this product was in policy configuration and management. The Pearl Echo Suite can pull users and groups from Active Directory, which makes policy configuration easy. But there is little granularity in the predefined categories.
Still, one particular feature we really liked about this product is that it can actually capture text from transmitted email, chat and instant messages. This text can easily be viewed with a couple of mouse clicks.
Documentation for this product is quite good. The provided quick-start guide presents clear step-by-step installation tasks for both the server and client machines. The user manual shows many advanced set-up procedures and configurations.
There is also a very detailed section with easy-to-follow steps on how to build and deploy clients via group policy. The user guide provides many screenshots and detailed examples.
Pearl offers both phone and email-based support to its customers. Other options available via the website includes a knowledge base, tutorials, FAQs, user guides and help files.
We find the Pearl Echo Suite to be good value for money. At a price of around £10 per seat, it is perfect for smaller environments that do not require a massively expensive product or for slightly larger environments that want a product with some nice features at a decent price.