NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager v5.9
Strengths: Solid policy compliance management for many system types throughout the network.
Weaknesses: Still requires a fair amount of work to get up and running.
Verdict: Requires good personnel resources for deployment, but after that this one is a solid performer.
Secure Configuration Manager from NetIQ provides a feature-rich platform for monitoring and ensuring policy compliance throughout the network environment. This product can provide management and monitoring of many systems throughout the network, including Microsoft Windows systems, Linux, Unix, VMware ESX, databases, web servers running internet information services (IIS), and network-attached storage. The tool can help administrators easy detect and remediate systems that are out of configuration compliance based on risk and severity, which ensures that critical systems stay safe and within requirements.
Installation and deployment is quite a process, as we found last year. Not much has changed in getting all the components of this product set up and running. The initial installation is comprised of getting a Windows Server 2008 R2 installation running with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and IIS. After the server is ready and loaded with a couple other prerequisites, the installation of Secure Configuration Manger can begin. We did find that once the server is properly prepared, the overall installation of the product is quite straightforward and is well automated.
After installation was complete, we were able to easily access the management console and begin configuring the product. Overall, we had an easy time of configuring the various features and functions, and - as in years past - were still quite impressed with the layout and organization of the many dashboards, visual charts and graphs that help to easily find and remediate problem areas or systems out of compliance. This product comes fully loaded with many compliance-based reporting templates ready to go out of the box. We like the added functionality of being able to find and report on user privileges to certain systems to ensure that all entitlements are up to date and correctly provisioned.
Documentation provided with this product includes a few guides in PDF format. Among the guides are an installation guide that detailes the installation and initial configuration steps in a clear and well-organized format. We find all documentation to provide a good amount of detail and step-by-step instructions, but would have liked to see more visuals, especially for more advanced configuration tasks.
NetIQ provides basic support at no cost with the purchase. Customers can purchase additional assistance through a support and maintenance program. Additional support available includes essential and premium levels at 12/7 and 24/7, respectively. Support options offered include phone- and email-based technical aid, as well as access to an online area which includes many resources, such as a knowledge base and product documentation downloads.
Secure Configuration Manager is priced based on a per server software license model. Pricing starts at $1,200 per server. We find this product to be an excellent value for the money overall. While it does require a little bit more work on the front end to get everything up and running, we find that the features and capabilities of this solution are well worth the effort. - MS