SmartLine DeviceLock 6.2 review

Price when reviewed

DeviceLock sets out to control an awkward and often neglected aspect of computer security: endpoint security. There’s little point in installing security software, biometric scanners and the like if someone can go to a networked PC, copy the contents of your database onto a USB stick and walk off with it.

SmartLine DeviceLock 6.2 review

In the past, technicians often solved the problem by disconnecting or otherwise disabling the hardware, but this could easily be circumvented by anyone with a little technical knowledge. Software solutions are preferable, and there are a number of network security products that offer these facilities as part of the package. However, these products aren’t necessarily suitable for SMEs that don’t have complex networks.

DeviceLock provides a means of controlling the use of these potentially insecure devices without the costs and complexity of a full network security solution. It can control access to USB ports, CD and DVD drives, FireWire ports, Bluetooth adapters and PDAs, and even legacy technologies such as serial and parallel ports and floppy disk. DeviceLock allows an administrator to block access to unnecessary I/O devices altogether and to restrict access to others. Each device is associated with lists of authorised users who are then granted access rights and times when they can exercise those rights.

A likely scenario would be to prevent users from using any I/O device, while allowing support staff to have access to some peripherals on designated systems such as servers to carry out routine operations such as backups. Since the configurations can be changed quite easily, it’s possible to arrange for support staff to have access to a particular machine’s peripherals on an ad hoc basis, so they can carry out maintenance tasks. But the software is capable of much more than simply blocking a device. It can arrange for a user to have read-only access, for example, and can even allow access to designated storage media such as a specific DVD or USB device when the drive wouldn’t otherwise permit it.

Security is further enhanced, because DeviceLock can recognise the presence of hardware keystroke loggers on USB or PS/2 ports and block them out. It can also be set up to regard any USB hub device to be a potential keystroke logger, allowing it to handle any new loggers that might appear. As a further security measure, DeviceLock will obfuscate signals on the PS/2 keyboard port.

Not content with simply controlling peripheral access, DeviceLock also provides control over legitimate activities such as synchronising PDAs by restricting the type of files and data that can be accessed, and making central copies (data shadowing) of any data transferred using any of the controlled devices. This can be tightly configured, so that only sensitive data is shadowed. All activities can be recorded in the local Event Log for later analysis. One note of warning: DeviceLock 6.2 doesn’t support Vista. However, the soon-to-be-released update, version 6.2.1, will.

In short, DeviceLock can provide a simple solution to a serious security problem at a very reasonable price.

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