CA SSO Review

It helps with compliance because we can make sure who a user is, log-in information, etc. It’s difficult to initially configure, but once you know where the traps are, it’s not a big deal.


Valuable Features

Single sign-on allows you to log into multiple areas and sessions with just one user login. SiteMinder uses a cookie to pass the credentials along to different applications, and it’s encrypted. You can determine how long the session will last before users have to log in again. And if you have NTFS capability, it just automatically logs in again for them, using a firewall to protect LDAP.

Improvements to My Organization

We use it for our tier-1 applications through GLBA and SOX. It helps with compliance because we can make sure who a user is, log-in information, etc.

Room for Improvement

It’s never been an out-of-box solution except for IIS, which installs web servers for you. Basically, you do a bit of configuration, and the client on the other end is heavier use. That’s the beauty of SiteMinder -- you can do anything with it.

It’s really difficult to initially configure, but once you know where the traps are, it’s not a big deal. It’s done everything we’ve needed it to do.

It could use better air handling -- if your policy doesn’t work, you just get some dots instead of real information without looking at the logs. It would be nice to find the info without hunting in the logs.

Stability Issues

Once every one to two years, the service will freeze, but if you have redundancy, all you have to do is restart. If you have redundancy, it’s not a big deal. The way it works, is that it does a round robin so that if one server goes down the other three handle the traffic.

Scalability Issues

Very scalable. You just have to have a central database where all servers hook up to the policy store, and all servers can use the database without a problem. You can then add as many servers as you want.

Customer Service and Technical Support

We’ve been using it since they were Netegrity, who had amazing an KB. But unless you’re standing up a new application, you don’t need it. We only get tech support involved when we have a new application.

Initial Setup

I’ve been running SiteMinder since v4, the first time I had to learn everything. It’s easy to export the policy to the policy store, which is your most valuable thing. It’s on v12 now, and I haven’t had to update for two years. We’re no longer handling the server admin, that’s another team, but we’re handling all the policy configurations. We can take that and go from version to version with no problem.

Other Advice

As far as software goes, it’s as close to the energizer bunny as it gets. Every now and again, service will freeze, but other than that it just goes.

It depends on whether you can log in directly to your LDAP and manage it, because that would be easier. If you need the ability for just logging without buying an application and want good security, it’s an awesome solution.

Most people use it as an external firewall, but all our firewalls are internal, so this is a good back stop.


Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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