CrossNodes Product Briefing: Policy Management

Policy Management software has promised a great deal, but what do the vendors actually offer for the money?

 By Dayna Delmonico
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If you've had to research policy management offerings you have rapidly come to the conclusion that there are plenty of products, but a clear definition of "policy management" as it pertains to products is sorely lacking.

Deciding what policy management product is right for your company is daunting. First, this is a relatively new class of software. Second, "policy management" can refer to security, VPNs, network traffic, network QoS (quality of service) and/or LANs -- therefore communications, network/systems management and security vendors all have products. So don't look for consistent feature sets.

At the low-end, policy management products are templates designed to help managers define and publish policies usually on their intranet. As for the products included in this guide, some configure network devices remotely to simplify implementation and maintenance of policies. Some are products that enforce system checks and security policy. Others are part of network or systems management suites and try to integrate all policy features. Because products are so varied, we added brief vendor product descriptions to each of the products we've included in this guide.

Some descriptions note that the product supports or is COPS (Common Open Policy Service) compliant. This is a standard for exchanging policy information in a network. It permits switches and routers to reserve bandwidth based on a policy that stipulates group or individual user priority.

For more on the basics of policy management read the companion CrossNodes Briefing on Policy Management by Gerry Williams, and try these keywords:

  • policy management
  • systems management
  • network management
  • system security
  • quality of service
  • QoS
  • policy server
  • COPS

This article was originally published on Aug 20, 2001
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