Shavlik NetChk Protect
Strengths: Extremely intuitive interface makes it easy to use.
Weaknesses: Agentless architecture could result in performance issues
Verdict: A solid choice for medium-sized organizations.
NetChk Protect is Shavlik’s console product through which its patch management and spyware offerings are managed. The patch management offering uses agentless technology and, once installed, the first task was to perform a quick update of the patch signature files.
The console takes a split-pane approach to navigation, with all the tools you need positioned on the left-hand side and the relevant data displayed on the right. Templates can be established to let you determine how a particular environment is controlled.
Templates cover patch and spyware scanning, patch deployment parameters and remediation processes, and each is extremely configurable. For example, you can set how much CPU usage a computer should use when deploying a patch. Remote popup boxes can be established to let end-users know their machines are being updated and there are highly detailed reboot options.
Patch scan templates must be established early to gain control over the network, as trusting to default scans could severely slow the scanning process. Templates allow you to filter out products and individual patches, useful if you want to significantly speed up the scanning process. The number of machines to be simultaneously scanned can also be set.
The console is highly intuitive and easy to use. The simple layout and logical navigation mean you can get to grips with the program relatively quickly. However, spending some time with the “test machines” section of the console will enable you to familiarise yourself with the system, and is a must before going live.
Reporting is handled through 14 customisable reports, that allow detailed analysis of the network, and which can help to recognise trends and problem areas.
Overall, this is a very capable product. Although we looked at the Windows version (2000, XP, and 2003), one also available for Sun’s Solaris operating system, but it is a different product.
Its relative simplicity, agentless architecture, but impressive detail and performance, might appeal to medium-sized companies.