Review: CRYPTO-Shield

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CRYPTOCard submitted for review a software-based enterprise offering for installation on a server. There are several different types of hardware tokens that can be used with the server software.

CRYPTO-Shield offers a calculator-style token, a key fob-style token, a USB key-style token, and a USB dongle-style token. The offering is widely used and integrates into popular firewalls and VPN offerings easily. It also has a component which can be used for two-factor authentication of Outlook Web Access (OWA).

The installation of CRYPTO-Shield was relatively easy. It is recommended by CRYPTOCard to install the software on a non-Active Directory domain controller (DC) since port conflicts may occur.

The software installs into two components: a server component, which provides the authentication functionality, and a console component, which is used to administer the offering.

The product uses Active Directory or its own internal database for lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP) for lookup of user credentials.

The installation is fairly straightforward and little time is needed to understand the offering and to move around in the logically laid out configuration interface.

The biggest challenge we encountered was getting the LDAP contexts correct for the configuration. It took us several tries, but once we did the install was smooth. The installation wrapper installed SQL MDSE on the system and required no additional configuration.

The offering supports not just laptops but Windows CE and BlackBerry devices as well. The product uninstalled cleanly and easily with no residual components left behind.

Documentation for this product is provided, and the quick install guide was the only documentation which was needed for our testing. Other documentation is included electronically in the form of PDF files. The documentation is easy to follow and the layout is logical.

Phone, email and the web portal are the primary mechanisms for contacting CRYPTOCard. Also available are 9x5 and 24/7 support options.

The pricing for the CRYPTO-Shield starts at US$499 for five users and is in the middle range of the price spectrum. When compared with the strength of the offering, the offering was clearly a good performer.

For: Easy installation and configuration.
Against: LDAP understanding can be a bit tricky during the installation. Not a great fit for small shops because of the need for administration.
Verdict: A strong offering that provides a large range of features and is a perfect fit for large or enterprise environments.

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