NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager v5.8
Strengths: Many compliance templates already built into the system. Solid overview dashboard.
Weaknesses: Agent deployment could be more automated.
Verdict: If compliance is your hot spot, take a close look at this one.
SummaryThe Secure Configuration Manager from NetIQ allows for easy detection of misconfigured systems throughout the enterprise environment. This product offers the ability to assess system configurations against many compliance standards - such as PCI DSS, HIPAA, SOX, NERC and FDCC - across several platform and server types, including as Windows, Linux, UNIX, as well as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle and IIS.
Installation is quite simple and is done by running an executable installer on the machine that will be become the server component of the system. After a short setup wizard, the executable installs the server and the web-based management console. When installation is complete, all management is done through the management console, which is pretty much a blank slate that needs considerable configuration. The system works by deploying agents to client machines and then creating groups within the management console of which the clients will be part. Once groups are configured, policy templates can be assigned to the groups and assessment can begin. Agent installation is quite a process. We found the agent deployment guide to be very helpful in remotely deploying agents, but we feel the deployment process should be more automated and seamless.
We found that this product offered a lot of flexibility and the policy templates were a great starting point. The dashboard on the management console also provides a nice amount of information at a glance, including many overall looks at the enterprise-wide compliance status. The policy templates can be easily applied as is or customized to the environment for a tailored fit to the compliance objectives.
Documentation includes an installation, user and agent deployment guides. All are in PDF format and easy to read. The only downside to the documentation is there are no screen shots or diagrams to help visually illustrate configurations. However, there are many checklists and clear step-by-step instructions.
NetIQ offers basic no-cost support in the form of 12/5 phone support, as well as email assistance. There is also a support area available on the website, which includes a user forum and knowledge base at no cost. Additional support is available as part of a support agreement, which includes 24/7 premium phone support.
At a price starting at $1,100 per server, we find this product to be a good value for the money. The system can be customized to meet the needs of almost any environment and it provides a lot of compliance templates and reporting already built in.