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Endpoint Security: ScriptLogic's Desktop Authority 7.5

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ENDPOINT SECURITY


Desktop Authority 7.5
REVIEWED BY HARRIS WEISMAN

ScriptLogic
Price: $30-$40 per seat

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As the name suggests, ScriptLogic's Desk-top Authority 7.5 is a centralized desktop management solution. What makes this product unique is the optional add-ons that address patch management, spyware removal and USB/port security. The total package makes this a useful tool for day-to-day desktop and security management.


Configuration/ManagementB+  
Server installation was straightforward: The software recognized that the base Windows 2000 software was missing several core components and added them.

When a user logs on to the network, Desktop Authority executes a script, SLogic, that installs the client software and configures the registry. This script is assigned to users through User Manager for Domains or Microsoft Active Directory, or from within Desktop Authority itself.

Through a dedicated central console, admins can manage the configuration of the user's environment, maintain a complete inventory of the enterprise's hardware and software, and support users remotely.

Granular profiles allow for group and individual user management for various environments. As the user logs on to the network--either on the network or by connecting remotely--the script activates and applies the group's rules to the workstation. This allows admins to maintain consistent and updated policy controls.

Desktop Authority bundles several optional security components, including patch management via Shavlik Technologies and antispyware from Aluria Software (antispyware deployment relies on the installation of the Shavlik module). ScriptLogic also offers its USB/ port control tool, which secures data against theft or accidental loss.


Policy ControlB+  
Desktop Authority makes it easy to administer several key security functions. Patches can be tailored to each individual group's needs and deployed accordingly. This also works for the antispyware component. One nice feature is the ability to exempt specific "spyware" applications, which is how many security tools are classified.

The USB/port control component can manage use of Bluetooth, CD/DVD drives, FireWire devices, floppy disks, hard disks, infrared ports, Zip disks, MP3 players, modems, PCMIA controllers, PDAs, USB devices, parallel/serial ports and Wi-Fi devices.

Administrators have granular control of what can be accessed; for example, you can grant read-only access to CD-ROM burners, allowing users to access portable disk content but not copy sensitive data.


EffectivenessB+  
In our testing, we focused on the security modules, developing a series of groups that denied and granted access to specific devices and media. The system prevented us from violating the assigned access control lists. Using these same groups, we also deployed patches to Windows XP desktops and laptops. We deployed the antispyware component using the patch management tool.


ReportingA  
The reporting tool is very effective, allowing the administrator to use either packaged or custom reports. All three security components use Desktop Authority's reporting tool, which allowed us to generate canned reports on antispyware, USB/port and patch activity, as well as administrative desktop management. Each of these areas features several detailed options; for example, under USB/port management, you can generate reports by a specific type of device or workstation. Each canned report can be modified to suit the enterprise's needs.


Verdict
rity is an effective desktop management/ security tool. While it does not work with non-Windows systems, it would be a cost-effective solution in a Windows shop.


Testing methodology: Our test platforms included Windows 2000 Server, Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

This was first published in February 2007

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