There are a few products that are being advertised as providing you with the "big picture," in that they can accept alerts, alarms, syslogs and other audit or intrusion data from many different firewalls, IDS and others, and provide an overall picture of your network. Some of them even have nice graphic interfaces to help you understand what is happening.
Conversely, most, if not all, of these tools are form reporting, not management. That is, while they can be a central spot for reporting, they can't actually allow you to make configuration changes for all the systems they monitor.
Whether the reporting capability is "worth the expense" without the added configuration capability, is something you need to decide for yourself.
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This was first published in April 2002