Strengths: Easy-to-use management console and intuitive job creation.
Weaknesses: Did not perform very well under test.
Verdict: Needs a bit of maturing, but shows a lot of promise.
Lumension Security's PatchLink Scan is a fairly robust vulnerability scanner. It enables administrators to identify and scan all network-attached assets for three types of vulnerabilities: systems can be scanned for operating system vulnerabilities, software vulnerabilities and configuration vulnerabilities. This comprehensive scanning gives a complete picture of a network's overall security situation.
The version of this product we received was an already installed VMware image, so we, unfortunately, are missing some big pieces on which we base our ease of use score. Since this VMware image contained the product already installed, we cannot score installation. What we did find is that this product, after it is installed, is quite easy to use. The management console itself is well organized and intuitive to navigate, and scans can be setup quickly and easily.
Furthermore, the performance of this product was hindered by being a virtual machine - because of its need for resources on the machine in which it was running. We had a terrible time running scans, and even when we boosted the memory to the virtual machine itself, we found we still spent more time waiting for things to load rather than running actual tests. We are fairly certain that this would not be the case on the production version, but we must score the product as we received it.
The only documentation we received with this product were several PDF guides on using the update feature and one PDF evaluation guide. While the evaluation guide was quite thorough, it was strictly text and included no screen shots or diagrams.
Lumension provides onsite installation and continued support for the duration of the product use. Support includes phone and email technical support, as well as an online knowledge base on the website.
Pricing runs as such: PatchLink Security Management Console: Standard, $995, perpetual (one time charge); Enterprise, $3,495, perpetual (one time charge); $8 per node/one year term, subscription based.
Based on our experience with this evaluation in the SC Lab, we find PatchLink Scan to be an average value for the money. It does have some nice features, but we cannot assume its ease of installation or performance.
[editor's note] For this product review, we were dealing with a non-standard implementation. We assigned star ratings for this product based on the elements we could test in this VMWare deployment of the full product. Since the product was pre-installed in the VMWare image, we could not test functionality that related to implementation and some aspects of performance. For this reason, we generally discourage the use of VMWare images as a means of submitting review copies of products to us. In addition, documentation was graded, as always, based on the materials provided to us. In this case, the vendor stated that they failed to provide all documents they typically would provide to customers.