Review: Policy Commander 2.0

Today a veritable alphabet soup of regulations ‑ like GLBA, HIPAA, and PCI ‑ govern how firms must handle and safeguard confidential or sensitive data, and chances are that one (or more) of them apply to your business.

Policy Commander screen shot
Policy Commander’s Compliance Summary offers a snapshot view so you can see which systems are in compliance and which aren’t.
(Click for larger image)

Compliance with these regulations takes more than anti-virus software and a firewall; it also involves securing every employee’s computer by finding and fixing the hundreds of potential vulnerabilities they likely harbor. Although this process can be time consuming and costly, especially for small businesses, the consequences of non-compliance or a security breach can be also be quite severe.

Policy Commander screen shot

Policy Commander also provides a summary view that gives you at-a-glance compliance status across the entire organization and the software can generate numerous top-level as well as detailed logs and reports for internal and external auditing.

A particularly handy aspect of Policy Commander is its Configuration Groups feature. It automatically organizes your managed systems by a number of pre-defined criteria, such as which operating system revision is in use or which version of Web browser or Microsoft Office is installed. This lets you more easily apply or view policies that are appropriate for only a particular subset of systems. You can also create custom configuration groups using specific criteria you choose. 

Another nice feature of Policy Commander is that policy enforcement doesn’t stop when computers aren’t logged into the network. We found that policies remained in effect even on systems that lacked a network connection, since the client-side component handles the enforcement. 

Policy Commander costs $30 per managed system (up to 100), which puts it within reach of all but the most budget-constrained organizations. You can also download a fully functional copy of the software on a 30-day trial basis, and the company offers prospective customers technical support during the evaluation process.

Policy Commander 2.0 makes applying, enforcing and maintaining security policies on Windows systems much easier and less error prone that attempting to do it manually or through something like the Group Policy feature of Windows servers. If you’re looking to secure your systems with as little time and money as possible, Policy Commander 2.0 is worthy of a close look.

  • Price: $30 per managed computer; a minimum of 100 licenses

  • Pros: easy-to-use interface; attractive pricing

  • Cons: only supports Windows systems; a minimum of 100 licenses

Joe Moran spent six years as an editor and analyst with Ziff-Davis Publishing and several more as a freelance product reviewer. He’s also worked in technology public relations and as a corporate IT manager, and he’s currently principal of Neighborhood Techs, a technology service firm in Naples, Fla. He holds several industry certifications, including Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).

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