Applied Security fideAS
Strengths: Decent set of features.
Weaknesses: Complex setup and comparably high price.
Verdict: Lack of support resources does not lend well to high cost.
Applied Security fideAS is a client server-based architecture that provides software-based encryption for files, folders and peripheral devices on host machines. Server and client components are installed on Windows-based operating systems, and the solution supports Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista and Windows 2008. As with other client server-based solutions, the server application configures policy and pushes the policy out to the Private Agent, which is the client component.
Installation on our Windows 2003 test server was cryptic at times. The software installation and configuration tasks take time to adjust to, and we would recommend that only cryptographic experts handle the install of this product. This was not the easiest software solution to setup. Not to mention, you must choose some preliminary PKI settings, export them to an XML file, and email this file to Applied Security and wait for a signed file that you import back into the solution. This step should have been integrated into an automated process.
However, once we cleared the initial install hurdle and deployed the client product, the solution provided great encryption functionality within our environment. Although this is not a full disk encryption product, its ability to encrypt and decrypt files on the fly is impressive. The solution also offers enforcement of the "four eyes" principle - it needs two people to access certain flagged confidential files.
Although ample support files were included in PDF format, some of the screen shots and text were in German. As a whole, the PDF documentation provided good detail that allowed us to configure the semi-complex setup of the tool.
Pricing for fideAS starts at $165 per seat for one to nine users. Various maintenance contracts can be purchased, but a basic support offering includes eight hours a day/five days a week phone and email support. This starts at $33 per user for a one-year contract, and $65 per user for a three-year contract. Applied Security's support site is virtually non-existent.
All in all, the solution feels a bit more expensive than others, and for roughly 20 percent of the purchase price, Applied Security should offer a much improved support portal for its customers.