Strengths: Clean deployment and superior options for integration into the organization's digital fabric.
Weaknesses: None that we found.
Verdict: If you are looking for a front-end authentication portal that works well in a distributed environment, this one demands your consideration.
PortalGuard is a dedicated web-based portal that provides all strong authentication for the assets it supports. As it has become popular, PortalGuard allows full branding and integrates cleanly and smoothly into the organization's digital fabric. Technically, it may be deployed as an on-premises, cloud or hybrid implementation. It uses a REST API and can integrate into a variety of architectures that support such things as load balancing and fail-over, as well as allowing a distributed - multi-portal - deployment for large geographically distributed enterprises.
The portal supports most types of tokens - both software and hardware - and there is a free app for use with smartphones. It supports both SAML and non-SAML applications and just about every multifactor authentication scheme you can think of. RADIUS is built in. In short, PortalGuard is a very complete, well-conceived and executed package.
We started by examining the components of an implementation. In addition to the expected portal and strong authentication characteristics, there is a self-service component that allows users to perform self-provisioning and password resets without recourse to the help desk. The admin features are clean and comprehensive and the configuration was straightforward.
The configuration editor really is a policy editor and it is easy to use and very complete. Navigation is intuitive and we had no trouble following the setup approach necessary to deploy the portal and make it accessible to users. In terms of available one-time password tokens we did not note any important ones missing. In addition, there is a proprietary "PassiveKey" approach that uses the computer itself as the token.
User self-service includes account unlock, password reset and recovery, retrieving forgotten usernames and self-registration. This trend has become popular enough to be a must-have, and PortalGuard implements it nicely saving a lot of help desk overhead.
The PortalGuard pricing model is simple. It is server-based so the number of actual users doesn't impact price. We found the price very reasonable and, of course, being a server-based approach, it is predictable. Silver level support (8 hours/day, 5 days/week) is included in the standard purchase, while Gold (12 hours/day, 5 days/week) and Platinum (24 hours/day, 7 days/week) packages are available at an additional cost. The website is rich with information, including such things as FAQs, white papers and documentation in the form of guides.
Documentation was complete and well-presented and, perhaps more important, there was a lot of collateral that was useful in assessing the approach that needed to be taken for various types of deployments, including addressing aspects of compliance. Overall, we found PortalGuard to be a first-rate example of the application of a web portal as a front-end for strong authentication. - Peter Stephenson