NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager (SCM) was formerly an offering from PentaSafe, and this product was one of the first products in the policy management space. This product is the most feature-rich that we tested. Secure Configuration Manager can manage workstations with several operating systems (Windows, Linux and Unix), as well as servers, such as Linux, Unix, Windows and even AS/400 systems. In addition to the large number of operating systems, Secure Configuration Manager offers server pre-built policy templates that include common device configurations, as well as compliance templates for legislation. SCM allows for vulnerability checking through the installed client agents and features to determine if the endpoint appears to have been compromised.

The NetIQ Secure Configuration Manager installation is one of the most well done installation set-ups that we have ever seen. The install process is guided from a JavaScript window inside of a web browser. The installation includes a pre-requirements checking utility, which will allow you to install any missing software components before the installation begins. Even with the well thought-out design of the installation, we experienced difficulty getting the product to install. If the installation failed, little information was given to explain why the installation failed.

The documentation is provided in a single, well-written PDF document that is indexed and searchable. The document is easy to follow and it provides information about most common uses of the product, as well as a walk-through of the installation process.

NetIQ has flexible support options, but the NetIQ website has a very nice knowledge base that is accessible to everyone, as well as paid support options that include phone and other premium offerings.

Secure Configuration Manager is at the high end of cost per unit of the products tested in this Group Test. However, the Secure Configuration Manager is feature rich. While Secure Configuration Manager might not be appropriate for every endpoint in an enterprise, it is a good solution for servers and key workstations.