SafeNet Authentication Service
Strengths: Full cloud-based option with no need for separate hardware
Verdict: If the cloud is your cup of tea for authentication, give this one a close look
The SafeNet Authentication Service offers an entirely cloud-based multi-factor authentication platform for the enterprise. It can tie in directly with the existing LDAP or Active Directory infrastructure and provide both hardware and soft token authentication options. It also includes many automation and user self-service options, such as user enrolment and account reconciliation.
We found this product quite simple and straightforward to setup and manage. Since the majority of the product itself is hosted from SafeNet's cloud, there is really no server-side setup to be done. In order to get the product up and running, we simply had to install the appropriate agents throughout our test environment and point them at the SafeNet Authentication Service cloud.
SafeNet offers a multitude of agents including Active Directory Sync Agents, Outlook Web Access and SharePoint on the Microsoft side, along with Cisco, Citrix and Juniper Networks for VPNs and remote access. Agents are also available for Windows Logon for Windows 2008, Vista and 7.
On the management side, administrators can easily configure and manage the Authentication Service by logging into a web-based management interface known as BlackShield Cloud Manager. We found this interface to be very easy to use and intuitive to navigate.
Aside from integration with internal authentication services, this product also integrates with many cloud-based applications, including Google Apps and Salesforce.com. Beyond the flexible integration options, it also includes many built-in authentication options for users. Users can self-enrol using soft tokens sent directly to their mobile device. SafeNet supports all major device platforms including iOS, Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry.
After enrolment, users can choose these same devices as their authentication token. Aside from mobile device tokens, the product also supports authentication using SMS, email or grid cards. Furthermore, SafeNet can integrate with existing tokens to provide seamless deployment for users who may already have tokens in use.
Documentation included several PDF manuals, including administrator and configuration guides. We found these to be easy to follow, with many screenshots and configuration examples. Also available were several integration guides that provide an excellent amount of detail on how to configure the various agents for integration into the environment.
SafeNet provides no-cost implementation support to all customers who purchase the product. This includes assistance with initial installation, configuration and interoperability with third-party products. Customers can purchase either eight-hours-a-day/five-days-a-week or 24/7 support plans, and the cost can be rolled into their monthly subscription or annual support contracts. This includes full email and phone-based technical help.
SafeNet customers can also access a large help area on the website, which includes many resources, such as a knowledgebase and product documentation downloads.
The overall cost for this product varies by type of deployment, but the full cloud-based service ranges from £1.25 per user per month for high volumes purchased to £3 per user per month for smaller rollouts - and we find that to be average value for money.
While the SafeNet Authentication Service does provide a full cloud-based way to integrate multi-factor authentication into the enterprise, it can become quite pricey on an ongoing basis, even for larger deployments.