ThinMind Helps Get the Job(S) Done
One of the most amazing aspects of Shift Technologies ThinMind is that such a well-done application costs so little: Each of the three ThinMind modules—time, expense and project management—costs $5 per user per month.
ThinMind is particularly well-suited for consulting because Shift Technologies has made it easy to associate, for example, projects with time sheets for billing time against a project.
ThinMind also offers an issue-tracking module for managing support contracts, although that costs $10 per user per month. Each of the standard modules also stands well on its own.
Indeed, one of ThinMinds biggest benefits is its flexibility. For example, the time sheet application allowed me to create multiple projects for each of my "customers," and I could require work estimates before logging time against a project.
I also liked some of the more generic time-tracking features for service-sector companies, such as the ability to limit when users can access the system as well as the IP addresses from which they can access it.
For more information, go to www.thinmind.com.
Rich CD-Rs Offer Data Protection
At $5.95 a disk, Ricohs EncryptEase self-encrypting CD-Rs provide a data protection solution for even the tightest of SMB budgets.
I was impressed during tests with the EncryptEase CD-Rs ease of use and functionality. Each CD-R comes with its own CD burning software that allows users to quickly set up a secure access password; sensitive data can then be burned to the disk.
EncryptEase software must be installed on a users PC to either read or write content to an EncryptEase CD-R, and only Windows platforms are currently supported.
Ricohs proprietary RR disk format sections off the center of the disk to store the burning and management software, leaving the outer ring of the media for data storage. The RR format ensures that the disk cannot be duplicated, so multiple copies of data wont be spawned if someone loses a disk.
The EncryptEase software provides the option of setting effective dates for a disk. For example, I could create a disk that could be read for only 90 days before expiring. This adds another layer of security to the password feature.
An EncryptEase CD-R can store up to 600MB of data, and it can be written to as many as 20 times.
Tool Simulates Real-Life Attacks
I often use penetration-testing tools as part of my security evaluations. Most recently, I used Core Security Technologies Core Impact 5.1 to help assess the effectiveness of Arbor Networks Peakflow X 3.4 .
Core Impact is a nice tool for contractors and network security staff and is set up to conduct project-by-project pen tests. The results of these tests are stored for each project, so its easy to see how changes from one run to the next are either improving or compromising network access.
I used Core Impact to automatically launch attacks against the target network, and then I watched to see how quickly Peakflow sensed the attack, warned me that it was happening and then took action to reconfigure network settings so that the Core Impact system would be isolated.
Core Impact wasnt the only tool I tested Peakflow X with—even the simple network management tool WhatsUp Gold from Ipswitch triggered the paranoid (in this case, a good thing) Peakflow X. But to get really down and dirty with simulated attacks, Core Impact is a nice pen-testing tool to have at hand.
Core Impact costs $25,000, including all updates, training and new exploit code, for one year. For more information, go to www.coresecurity.com.