Bardon Provides Full Control of Windows

 
 
By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2002-06-03
 
 
 

Bardon Provides Full Control of Windows


 

Bardon Provides Full Control


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Full control internet 1.0 from Bardon Data Systems Inc. provides nearly all-encompassing control over PCs running the gamut of Windows systems, and this iteration of the product does it over IP. This means that IT managers who need ultimate control over Windows 9xs weak log-in and what applications can and cannot be run by users—and need to do this with geographically dispersed PCs—should consider the product.

In eWeek Labs tests, we could lock PCs into a standard configuration that even Houdini (not to mention a determined salesperson) would have a hard time wriggling out of. That being said, IT managers of user communities that require any kind of configuration flexibility should likely not use Full Control Internet: We found its restrictions often caused a lot of headaches in tests.

Full Control Internet, released this week, is priced at $79.95 per seat. This is comparable to competing products such as Aladdin Knowledge Systems Inc.s eSafe Desktop, which costs $72 per seat.

Based on the stand-alone Full Control released four years ago, which was also Windows-only, Full Control Internet allows IT managers to control any system with a Full Control agent that can see the IP address of the management console.

In fact, the major requirement that IT managers must accommodate is that the Full Control remote manager must be visible to client systems. However, our tests showed that it was not necessary for the management server to be able to see the IP address of the controlled machine (which would have been a crippling disadvantage for the product). This means that the target systems can be running in a network address translation environment and still use the product.

Centralized Control

full control internet effectively cuts through the plethora of free management tools in later versions of Windows, such as group policies, by using the Full Control agent to take over user log-on and machine state reporting duties. This is among its chief benefits to IT managers because it enables them to control their systems from a single management console.

Using Full Control, for example, we were able to easily transfer files to one or a group of machines, reboot the systems, and gather information on which programs were running and when users logged on to and off monitored PCs.

In addition, Full Control provides a frightening amount of information about the program use and Web browsing habits of users on monitored systems. Although IT managers can run the product in stealth mode, we recommend that users be told what the approved usage policies are and that their machines are being monitored.

Full Control Internet is different from Web browsing monitoring products, such as the home-oriented Net Nanny from Net Nanny Software Inc., because it doesnt block users from getting to sites. This is an advantage over straight blocking tools because it allows users to get to needed sites while also providing information on where theyre pointing their Web browsers.

Full Control Internet can be a useful addition for help desk purposes, but at nearly $80 per seat, its surprising what the product doesnt provide. There is no actual remote control, and although files can be transferred to distant systems, Full Control Internet is not integrated with any inventory tools.

For these reasons, managers should consider the tool because of its control over configuration changes and consider the other remote help desk operations as secondary benefits.

We used a system running Windows 2000 Professional as the central management station—Full Control Internet can use any supported Windows operating system for its home base—and installed the agent on several Windows 2000 and Windows 98 systems.

Get Used to Passwords

get used to typing passwords. bardon is rightly paranoid about security within the product, and we had to enter passwords almost any time we let the system idle for more than a couple of minutes. Some operations, such as rebooting remote systems, seemed to ask for a password every time they were initiated—which is a good thing.

We used a network protocol analyzer to check traffic between the management console and the remote systems. We never saw anything transmit in the clear, and Full Control Internet uses extensive system identification rules to ensure the clients get instructions only from an authorized server.

Executive Summary


: Full Control Internet 1.0">

Executive Summary: Full Control Internet 1.0

USABILITY Fair
CAPABILITY Excellent
PERFORMANCE Good
INTEROPERABILITY Poor
MANAGEABILITY Good
SCALABILITY Good
SECURITY Excellent

Full Control Internet 1.0 is a capable tool for IT managers riding herd over Windows PCs that should not be changed in any way by their users. The utility is a little pricey and can be used in a spy-on-your-neighbor mode; nevertheless, it should prove useful, especially for shops that still have a lot of Windows 9x machines, because Full Control Internet replaces the weak log-in security found in those operating systems.

Cost Analysis

When a product has a per-seat price as high as Full Control Internets, its important to know what costs are being incurred because of unauthorized desktop re-configuration. If the answer is anywhere near $80 per seat in a year, then Full Control Internet is likely worth a look.

pSupports nearly all Windows desktop operating systems; replaces insecure Windows 9x log-in; tightly locks desktop configurations. mRelatively high cost; lacks integration with help desk and inventory tools; can be run in stealth mode.

Evaluation Short List

•Microsoft Corp.s Windows Group Policy

•Aladdin Knowledge Systems eSafe Desktop

www.bardon.com

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