AdventNet SecureCentral ScanFi 4.1

Pros: Inexpensive vulnerability solution

Cons: Slow scanning and poor performance in large environments

Price: $1,695 per 500 computers per year

Performance: C

Features: C+

Ease of use: C-

Value: C

In any review, one product has to be our least favorite. And for several reasons, AdventNet's SecureCentral ScanFi 4.1 was our least favorite vulnerability management suite. From the start, we could tell this piece of software would be cumbersome to install and use because the Web site where we downloaded it (www.securecentral.com/products/scanfi) was cluttered and complicated to use.

Once downloaded, installation took a long time, mostly because it kept opening and closing command prompts and writing code while we were working. In fact, the software crashed the first couple of times we tried to install it on our 2-GHz Windows XP machine.

After several tries, we were finally able to get the product up and running. ScanFi works through a Web portal where the admin can control the nodes on a network and administer scans or fixes. The most frustrating part of the software is that there are no key icons or logical patterns for executing commands. As a result, the user is left hunting for what they want to do and finding the action in the most awkward places.

A simple action like a scan, for example, should be indicated by a large button or icon on the page. Instead, we had to look long and hard to find a small hyperlink on the top, left-hand-side of the page.

Another major issue with ScanFi was level of detail it provided. Compared to NeXpose, which is capable of producing charts and 3-D graphs, ScanFi left us wishing for a better reporting system so we didn't have to pore over streams of text data.

We also noticed that ScanFi was inconsistent when scanning the same network more than once. Often, a second or third scan would uncover a new vulnerability and miss previously discovered vulnerabilities. In a word, we found ScanFi unreliable, which is a major problem in a vulnerability management program.

Perhaps it's not surprising, then, that SecureCentral ScanFi is the most affordable vulnerability management suite in the review, priced at $1,695 per 500 computers per year. Sometimes you can't cut corners to save money.

AdventNet Inc., Bloomsbury, N.J., (908) 479-4003, www.securecentral.com

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