Powerful Management Software

By Matthew Sarrel  |  Posted 2010-02-11 Print this article Print


Powerful Management Software

BlockMaster provides highly configurable management software, SafeConsole, in a variety of versions. Each contains different features, ranging from the free Intro version, which only lets you set up password policy, to Enforce&Enable, which packs the whole enchilada. After installing SafeConsole on my Windows 2003 Server SE test machine, I ran the configuration wizard. I integrated SafeConsole with Microsoft Active Directory and imported the users and OUs (organizational units) from my directory. Then I created various management accounts (administrator, manager, support) and assigned passwords and applied restrictions so that SafeConsole could be managed only from my local IP address range.

From there, it's reasonably straightforward to create various policies such as password creation, password recovery and device backup, and assign them to users and/or OUs. The lack of any sort of help is troubling. Most things are easy enough to figure out with the decent descriptions that usually appear below an option and top-level general settings are explained in the PDF documentation, but I did encounter settings with no explanation. 

Lost drive management is worthy of note. Administrators can configure SafeSticks to connect to SafeConsole at least every x number of days (the administrator can choose the number of days), and if they don't, then set the drive to "lost" or "disabled." I was dutifully warned in the PDF manual that this is based on the system clock and can easily be tricked. Lost drives can be unlocked with data intact. Disabled drives wipe data and must be reprovisioned. 

There are some helpful features for organizations looking to control removable USB storage. An administrator can configure authentication via Windows credentials (the username is mapped to the device before deployment and so when the user gets the device, he or she just plugs it in) while at the same time preventing all other removable storage from being mounted. Files can be published securely to SafeSticks over a network from the management console. Usage can be restricted to certain file types to prevent users from saving .exe, .dll, .bat or anything else to the media. The drives currently only support Windows and Mac OS, not Linux.

BlockMaster SafeStick SuperSonic and SafeConsole Enforce&Enable are very good solutions for deploying and managing rugged and encrypted removable USB media. They meet MIL-STD-810F waterproof standards and are in the process of obtaining FIPS 140-2 certification. Although somewhat less rugged, the SafeStick SuperSonic is much smaller and speedier than the Lexar and the IronKey.

Pricing for a 4GB SafeStick SuperSonic USB key is $139; an 8GB version costs $219 (volume discounts apply). The Intro version of SafeConsole is free for all orders of over 100 devices, while pricing begins at $14 per device per year for the Enforce version and $18 per device per year for SafeConsole Enforce&Enable.


Matthew Sarrel Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is a network security,product development, and technical marketingconsultant based in New York City. He is also a gamereviewer and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse http://games.mattsarrel.com and for more general information on Matt, please see http://www.mattsarrel.com.

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