Review: Safend Protector 3.2 guards network endpoints at reasonable cost

You don't really need to pour glue into your USB ports to thwart unwanted connections

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Safend does some very extensive logging and protection of the desktops it protects. It can log every file accessed, block selective files from running (such as databases or CD disk images), encrypt USB drives automatically or block anyone from inserting one in any machine, send alerts via e-mail when something is wrong and control just about any device that can be connected to the outside of the computer, including Bluetooth, USB, Wi-Fi and removable drives too.

The console application has a nice look and feel (see screenshots below), and security policies are arranged very logically according to port control, device control, Wi-Fi control, and file and storage controls. Administrators can whitelist particular devices or wireless access points so that they are always allowed access and can also prevent CDs from automatically running upon insertion, which would solve the old Sony rootkit issue with its music CDs, for example.

Safend Management Console has a clean look and can set up policies to control access to particular ports and devices
 
Safend Management Console has a clean look and can set up policies to control access to particular ports and devices (Click image to see larger view.)
This page is used to set general port permissions
 
This page is used to set general port permissions (Click image to see larger view.)

There are several features that are new to Version 3.2. These include integration with Websense's Port Authority content inspector. Every file that is downloaded by an endpoint to an external storage device is examined for its contents, and the action is logged at the console. Also new is the ability to whitelist particular CD or DVD media, to prevent users from wholesale copying or playing music on their computers. Finally, it now has the ability to track what is connected inside the PC as well as outside, such as a second SATA hard drive that could be installed by a malicious user to download files.

Niceties

There are some other niceties to the program. An administrator can make use of a special cutoff password to temporarily disable the protection of the agent, which can be useful during troubleshooting. A user in distress can also be granted this ability temporarily with a separate one-time code that has a built-in time window specified by the administrator.

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