Security looms large in network management plans

Security looms large in network management plans

By Richard W. Walker

GCN Staff

With security at the top of everybody's information systems priority list these days, it is not surprising that security should also be foremost on the minds of feds who use network management software.

Feds surveyed by GCN listed security features as the No. 1 attribute they look for in network management software.

'I put security first and reliability second,' said Richard Sampson, system administrator for the Information Systems Directorate at Fort Lee, N.J., where a 70-100 node LAN uses Microsoft System Management Server from Microsoft Corp.





Users have gripes

Do you think your network
management software
needs improvement?
Yes: 72%
No: 28%


When GCN last canvassed users of network management software, about 2 1/2 years ago, security was also a priority, but feds responding to that survey ranked it second on the attribute list, behind server monitoring [GCN, Oct. 13, 1997, Page 20].

Users of HP OpenView Network Node Manager from Hewlett-Packard Co. gave it high ratings for security: 88 on a scale of 100. OpenView was rated the top brand of network management software in the latest survey, moving up from No. 3 in 1997.

One OpenView user, however, said there was room for improvement in its security features. ManageWise from Novell Inc., which captured the No. 2 slot in the survey, slipping from No. 1 three years ago, received solid scores for security features: 78 on a scale of 100.



Users of Microsoft System Management Server from Microsoft Corp., No. 3 in the survey, down from the second spot in 1997, were less enthusiastic about that program's security features, giving it a 57 rating on the scale of 100.

But Fort Lee's Sampson, who worries particularly about hackers, said he was satisfied with its security features.

'I haven't experienced undue invasions, but it's something I'm greatly concerned with,' he said.

Sampson said his problems with Systems Management Server have been in adding computers to the network.

'It's never worked right,' he said. 'If I'm going to have a system management system on there and I add a new computer, it should say, 'OK, I don't recognize you' and download what it's got. It doesn't appear to do that.'

At Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo., where a 2,000-user LAN uses System Management Server, Chuck Clark, security manager and former information systems manager, also likes the Microsoft product's security features.



But Clark's biggest complaint has to do with Microsoft's technical support.

'The technical advice from Microsoft is unfriendly,' he said. 'If I have a problem, whether it's on the server side or the client side of the house, I'd like to get a straight answer. I need an answer now. I don't need it two days from now.'


While System Management Server's performance in the survey's quality rankings was lackluster, it maintained the largest slice of market pie looked at'50 percent. That's up from 33 percent in the 1997 survey.

ManageWise held 21 percent of the installed base, with HP OpenView coming in at 17 percent.

The numbers for all three products represented shows an increase for each product's share of the market from the last survey of network management software, in which a greater number of products each had smaller pieces of the pie. In 1997, OpenView had 15 percent of the installed base, and ManageWise held 9 percent of the base.

Among network management systems GCN did not rank in this survey, LANDesk Server Manager Pro from Intel Corp. and Intelligent Manageability from Compaq Computer Corp. occupied 8 percent and 4 percent portions of the installed base, respectively.








































Survey results

Overall


Security


Server monitoring


Software platform supported


Virus protection


Real-time reporting

Hewlett-Packard

OpenView Network

71


88


63


88


50


75

Novell ManageWise
60


78


70


56


70


70

Microsoft System

Management Server

39


57


45


55


36


45













































Survey results

Software distribution

Client
administration

Easy
installation


Remote

control


Management

console

Web access to mgnt.
components


Printer

management

Hewlett-Packard

OpenView Network

75


63


63


75


75


88


50

Novell ManageWise
40


44


60


44


44


33


50

Microsoft System

Management Server

41


32


29


50


23


14


43



The GCN Reader Survey is designed to give federal buyers detailed quantitative data on specific computer and communications products, as graded on a scale of 100 by federal users.

The survey also measures the relative importance of product attributes in selection of those products.

This survey on network management software was part of a questionnaire mailed or faxed to federal readers of GCN who on their subscription application forms identified themselves as buyers and users of network software. We received 51 responses to this part of the questionnaire.

The network management software products in the survey were chosen because they represent the bulk of such brands used in government. This report lists results only for those brands that received at least eight responses.

The overall rating for each company was developed by averaging all individual attribute scores.

Top scores are in
red.

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