NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager
Strengths: Full risk-based security and compliance management for critical systems throughout the environment.
Weaknesses: Difficult to deploy initially.
Verdict: Takes a bit of effort to deploy, but after that a solid risk management tool.
SummaryThe Secure Configuration Manager from NetIQ offers a full systems and configuration management platform to manage both risk and policy across many network assets. Using this product, administrators can easily run system configurations against many compliance standards and obtain a report on systems that do not meet policy requirements. This product also allows for a risk-based approach to remediating systems based on criticality and severity of the misconfiguration.
We found installing this product to be not as straightforward as the documentation outlines. The first step in installing the software is to get a 64-bit Microsoft Windows Server up and running, which we found was one of the easiest parts of the deployment. After that, we had to install Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and that was also not a problem. Then it started to get tricky. This product uses the components from IIS 6.0 to run the web-based management console, so there are quite a few steps to go through to enable Server 2008 to run the legacy version. Our overall installation from this point forward was plagued with errors and troubleshooting. However, once we fixed all the problems and were able to get all the prerequisites installed, the rest of the installation went relatively smoothly.
The setup process of the software itself is guided by a set of setup wizards, which help make the installation of all the components and hot fixes quite seamless, but we would have liked to see a more streamlined process for installation of the product overall. Once everything was installed, we found this product to be quite easy to use. The management console was comfortable to navigate and we found configuration of the product to be simple and straightforward. Once inside the management console, we found this product to offer a lot in the way of features and functions. There are many dashboards and visuals that help aid in a bird's-eye view of the systems and security posture of the network overall.
Documentation included many PDF manuals and documents. Some of these included installation guides for all the various components of the product along with a full user guide for in-depth information on configuration and use of product features. We found all documentation to be easy to read and to include many screen shots, configuration examples and step-by-step instructions.
NetIQ offers customers no-cost 12/5 phone and email technical assistance, as well as access to an online support area. This includes many resources, including a knowledge base, user forums and useful documentation and downloads. Customers also can purchase additional support in premium and platinum levels as part of a contract. These levels include access to advanced aid, such as 24/7 technical assistance and other options.
At a price starting at around $1,200 per server license for the software, we find this product to be an excellent value for the money. The Secure Configuration Manager offers a great amount of risk-based policy management that can ensure that critical systems are compliant with both security and regulatory policies.