What is our primary use case?
We use it primarily for our IT team, so they can access our production and pre-production environments, to have better accountability. They have to create a ticket, check it out, and then they have to get approval from our approvers group. So there's accountability from beginning to end, and we also record the sessions.
How has it helped my organization?
The time frame to get sessions rolling has been cut to a third. From a productivity standpoint that's tremendous.
In addition to that, the ease of use is fantastic because our IT team is able to check out sessions very quickly because it's so intuitive and easy to work with. They're pleased with it and it allows them to do their jobs much faster. That's probably the largest way it has improved things for us.
Finally, because of the intuitiveness and ease of use for end-users it has been really simple to train on. This product has worked flawlessly for us.
What is most valuable?
There are a lot of features, so it's going to sound funny, but one of the most simplistic features, the Favorites feature, is the one we like the best. You do a full run-through of configuration to check out a server and then you can save that whole configuration as a favorite. So the next time you go in, you click on the favorite that you configured and it automatically takes you to the end so you can check the server out that much faster. It saves a lot of time, resulting in an increase in productivity and a decrease in issues and errors and interface problems. It increases redundancy and gives us a much easier interface to use.
We're using virtual appliances for Safeguard because of the flexibility of virtual appliances. We can snapshot them, we can restore them quickly. There's a lot more flexibility with virtual.
We use the solution’s Approval Anywhere feature, and it allows a group of five individuals to receive notifications on their phones, through Starling, and review a request and approve it with one click.
We also use the solution’s “transparent mode” feature for privileged sessions. We record them and we also review them. That way, if there are problems with any configurations they did, we can go back and review them. Also, for mentoring, teams utilize it to help individuals deploy code better or to make changes to configurations. There are a lot of positives with that feature. It was very easy to start using this feature. The entire platform is very intuitive, very easy to work with, easy to set up. I can't think of anything that we have really had huge issues with. The rollout of "transparent mode" was seamless for our users. We sent out picture instructions on how to do it and offered to get on a call with people to discuss it with us, but nobody had any questions. In terms of the monitoring itself, it doesn't affect things any differently than the previous solution. It's pretty much the same. Obviously, using the tools is easier, but we were monitoring the same type of information as before.
What needs improvement?
There is room for improvement in the launch module. They built in a launch button but they don't have effective instructions for configuring it to allow it to launch an RDP session. They're working on that, but the button is in the live product. If they were going to install something that wasn't useful, they should have just disabled it and not rolled it out with the product. Because we don't tie it to an RDP session, you actually have to click the download button and then open the RDP session from there, versus just clicking the launch button and it automatically opening RDP.
For how long have I used the solution?
Before Safeguard we used TPAM, which is one identity's product as well. We upgraded but we've been using the overall product since 2016.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Overall the solution is very stable. We have not had any major issues on it. It's a nice system.
The only issue I have run into was with our failover two our redundant. There was a pointer to the One Identity platform, it's called an SPP, and it wasn't pointing correctly. But we were able to resolve it. There have really been no issues besides that. Otherwise, everything is very seamless when doing failover and full redundancy.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
We can continue to add more VMs to support thresholds. We can certainly scale up with it. It's being used on about 300 servers right now and we have plans to expand to about 200 more.
We have 50-plus people using safeguard right now and they're all in IT. For deployment and maintenance we have one to two people.
How are customer service and technical support?
We haven't had to use technical support. It's been a solid platform so far.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
Previous to this, we were using TPAM and, while it worked, it was horrible to work with. When we saw and got a demo of Safeguard and saw that we would be able to approve things from our phones, saw the user interface which was so much nicer — more intuitive, a lot easier to configure — we went from our teams complaining about the old product every day to not hearing one complaint at all. As a matter of fact, I hear compliments about how much they love Safeguard.
The feedback I have had from users has been a lot of compliments about how much they enjoy working in the interface. It's so much easier to use. It's quick. They can get to the point of checking out a server and of being compliant with security requirements, while at the same time being able to troubleshoot an issue much faster than they used to be able to.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was a little complex.
What about the implementation team?
We worked with an integrator, Rallypoint Solutions, to accomplish it because we hadn't accomplished it before with Safeguard specifically. The integrator was tremendous. I have nothing but good things to say about Rallypoint. They helped integrate the whole thing. They really had a great understanding of it. We worked with them throughout the entire setup. We were the hands and they were guiding us. Overall, it was very easy to get up and running.
It did take about a week, eight hours a day — so 40 hours — to get fully up and running and everything imported from the old system into the new one, and to make sure all testing and redundancy were done.
The deployment was not disruptive to our privileged users at all. We ran both the old system and the new system in parallel and allowed them to migrate over after a period of two weeks. However, we had most people on it the first week and they loved it. They were eager to get off the old system.
It required no training. I provided step-by-step picture instructions that we had written out and that was it. They were good to go. We did have a strategy in place, if we needed to work with our teams from a training standpoint. We had sessions set up and ready to go where a live person could walk them through it. But none of our IT users seemed to need that. It was very intuitive.
What was our ROI?
We have seen ROI using Safeguard. For example, configuring a session in the old version used to take them 10 or 15 minutes, or more. Not only that, but the live person who was the approver had to be logged into the system. So the requester could actually wait a couple of hours before somebody would be able to log in and approve the session. With Safeguard, it's approved within less than a minute because approvers get the notifications on their phones and are able to review the tickets effectively. They understand what's being accomplished and know that it has a ticket number with more detailed information that they can verify, and they can approve the session right there. The individual gets that approval immediately. We went from an average of from anywhere between 15 minutes and two hours down to less than a minute or two. That's tremendous.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
They offer a fair price for a robust solution.
In addition to the standard licensing fees there are costs for Starling, but they're very minimal annually. You need Starling to use the mobile Approval Anywhere feature that is so convenient. So it's worth every dime. That extra cost is so small that it's not really even noticeable.
There are integration costs if you aren't looking to do it yourself. I highly recommend their integrators. They are a little expensive but certainly worth the money.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We did evaluate other solutions, but this is the best choice. We went with Safeguard because of the flexibility, the interface, and a more seamless migration from the old system to the new system. And costs were a consideration, obviously.
What other advice do I have?
If you're looking for something that is easy to use with a very intuitive interface — even the administrator interface is very intuitive — I would highly recommend safeguard. The entire platform is very intuitive, very easy to work with, easy to set up. I can't think of anything that we have really had huge issues with.
The biggest lesson I have learned from using Safeguard is to make sure you have enough accounts available for individuals' sessions so that they can check out. The way Safeguard works, an account is created just for Safeguard. Individuals go in as themselves and then they have to check out this account in order for that account to be able to remote to the server. That account would be the only one allowed to remote to the server. But if multiple people have the account checked out for multiple hours, that presents an issue. So keep your session times as minimal as possible. Even for timeout, allow them to change it if they think they're going to use it longer. But the important thing is to make sure that you either have enough accounts or have your session timeouts limited.
We do use the solution's behavior analytics feature, but I wouldn't say that it's too useful at this point for us because we know what their usage is because it has to be done through tickets. For how long they're using it, what kind of configurations they're doing, and what they're doing, the analytics piece of it is more expected for us, as a result. It does help us to identify risky actions without having to create a set of rules or policies, and without any effort on our part. But in our environment, if users don't put in a ticket and provide effective comments, then our approvals group doesn't approve it. There's no automatic approval set up. An individual reviews every request, so malicious use would not be possible.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?
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