PFU Systems iNetSec Smart Finder
Strengths: Powerful features, excellent price.
Weaknesses: Documentation needs some work; very involved setup.
Verdict: For the price, it can’t be beat. If the documentation is improved, this is sure to be a winner.
The iNetSec Smart Finder from PFU systems is an excellent network access control system for organisations of any size. Don't let the Smart Finder's small size fool you, it is packed with functionality. It is an agentless policy-driven solution making it easy to deploy and transparent to endpoints. It also boasts high-end security features (like behavioural malware detection), and can notify the administrator of infected machines or block them from the network altogether. Because of its small footprint it can be deployed anywhere, and several can be managed at a time allowing for scalability. One sensor can monitor up to three access ports or it can be run in VLAN mode with the ability to connect 16 VLANs.
When we removed it from the box, we had to head for the manual right away because it wasn't immediately clear how to set the device up. The setup proved to be fairly involved, but the manual did provide help. The physical device is just a sensor, all of the software that makes it tick lives on a Microsoft IIS server. We started by installing Windows Server 2008 R2 onto a virtual machine in our lab. After we had the initial setup complete, we followed the steps outlined in the Smart Finder's manual to install IIS as well as .Net. After that, the supplied software disk took over. We followed through its prompts as the software installed Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. After that, it loaded the website into IIS. The whole setup process took about two hours to complete. At that point, we still had to configure the sensor, which required another trip to the manual. We set our IP address manually and then connected directly to the front of the sensor, where we logged in and set the proper IP address. Finally, we gave the sensor the IP address of the virtual machine where we installed the software, and initial setup was complete. This part of the setup was confusing and the manual jumped around a bit.
After we had it set up, the Smart Finder was pleasant to use. After it had established contact with the web server for the first time, it did a quick firmware update and it was ready to go.
The unit came with a few pieces of paper, but no documentation. It took us a minute to find it on the included CD. While we loved the product, the documentation could use some work. The manual did not cover some of the setup very well, and was unclear at times, though it did come with plenty of pictures.
As far as support goes, PFU has one option: Standard support includes eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week phone and email assistance and is available in increments of one and three years. Regardless of the duration, both options include access to all software and malware dictionary updates, as well as access to the web support portal. One year costs $1,399 and three years costs $2,098.50.
All said and done, the iNetSec Smart Finder is a great buy, but the documentation could use some work. Once you have it set up, it is very easy to use and comes in at an excellent price point. This product has tons of features that can usually only be found for twice the price.
The Enterprise Random Password Manager from Lieberman Software is a full-featured enterprise identity management system. It comes with some great enterprise features not found anywhere else, as well as all of the other standard identity management software features. We like its ability to create strong, secure passwords for managed accounts and then change them on a regular interval.
ERPM can come in one of several ways. In addition to a standard Windows installer package, it can also come as a virtual appliance for VMware or HyperV. For our tests, we used the software installer. Even though the manual was descriptive, this still took us quite some time to set up. To get started, we set up a virtual machine in VMware and installed Windows Server 2008 R2. ERPM will not run on 32-bit versions of Windows, so keep this in mind when deploying the manager and the website. ERPM requires three parts for setup: The first part is the SQL database. A database is required and both Microsoft SQL and Oracle databases are supported. We used MS SQL Express for simplicity. The second step in the setup was to install IIS, the backend service for the website. We installed that and then configured SSL for enhanced security. After that, we were ready for the third step, which was to start the ERPM installer. We ran it, and once it was done, we launched the ERPM Manager.
On the first launch, we were greeted with an initial setup wizard. We connected it to our database, where it then set the database up automatically. The last step was to configure the website, which was also wizard driven. We used the same machine for all of the product features, but the manager, database and web server should be separate in a production enterprise environment. We performed several tests and were impressed with the product features. We particularly liked its usability as all of its functions are point and click.
The documentation was detailed and walked us through all of the setup. The downside to all of this detail was that the manual was long and took quite some time to read through. There was some repetitiveness and we believe that the manual would benefit from being split up a bit. With that said, the documentation included plenty of screen shots which made it easy to understand. The documentation came in a PDF along with the software installer, also online.
Lieberman Software provides several support offerings. Telephone assistance is included free of charge, Monday through Friday from 2 a.m.-6 p.m. Pacific Time. Email support is included free of charge 24/7. To receive software updates and to expand support hours, a service contract is required. Additionally, 24/7/365 support is available for one year at 20 percent purchase price, two years at 35 percent, and three years for 50 percent of software price.
Overall, ERPM is an excellent choice for large organisations that need a way to centrally manage access to privileged resources. It does this all via an intuitive web application that provides users with everything they need. It is used all over the world by federal agencies and large companies to prevent privileged account abuse.
Prices are US-based, thus indicative only.