ActivIdentity 4TRESS AAA Server
Strengths: Easy on administrators with a good interface.
Weaknesses: C language API could require some recoding of applications.
Verdict: Easy to install and easy to use this product; works well for overburdened IT staffs.
The ActivIdentity 4TRESS AAA offering is a remote authentication dial-in user service (Radius)-based authentication, authorization and accounting offering. The offering is not Radius specific but uses TACAS+ as well. Any application or device which is Radius or TACACS+ compliant can uses this authentication server.
The 4TRESS AAA offering is software-based and can use most two-factor authentication devices, including USB tokens, key fob tokens, calculator-style tokens and smart card authentication. It supports a software-based client as well. The 4TRESS server provides a C language-based application programming interface (API) that allows users to customize applications to take advantage of the two-factor authentication mechanisms offered. The 4TRESS AAA server works as a pseudo-Radius proxy that passes the authentication mechanisms to the Radius server for a grant/deny access. The product provides both centralized logging and reporting.
The installation of 4TRESS AAA was as easy as can be expected. The offering can leverage existing SQL (structured query language) or Oracle databases, but ships with its own SQL MDSE database, which we used for testing. The software installs into two components a server module and a console module. The console module was among the better modules we used and it had a logical layout which was easy to use, even for the novice, and the commands were simple to understand. If you have worked around a Radius server before, the 4TRESS AAA server should hold no surprises. We found the interface to be intuitive.
Documentation is included electronically in the form of PDF files. The documentation is easy to follow and the layout is logical and not necessary for most administrators. The documentation was indexed and searchable in the documents and this made for an easier time finding what was necessary.
The web portal appeared to be the primary method of support and was a bit disappointing. The knowledge base asked for a specific product and the 4TRESS AAA offering was not listed. A search for 4TRESS AAA yielded no results.
The pricing for the 4TRESS AAA offering starts at $79 per seat, which was in the middle of the price spectrum. Since the offering includes many useful features, the cost is justified.