On-demand audits
PC audits can now be done over the network on-demand, not just when the user logs in, claimed Layton Technology as it released version 6.3 of its AuditWizard asset management software. Priced from £195, AuditWizard runs from the server to scan Windows-based PC hardware and software, and can detect and audit Internet activity as well.

The program works via intelligent registry scanning and SNMP, and can also audit USB peripherals and removable devices such as PDAs and smartphones, said Robert Ward, Layton's president and CEO. "There's no point in a one-off audit - it has to be an ongoing process," he explained, adding that on-demand auditing means a helpdesk operator should always have an up-to-date picture of a user's system.

Auditing is increasingly important for software licensing compliance, he said. It can also be used to see which versions of a particular application your users are running, or to check that your hardware is adequate, for example before deploying a new version of Windows.

Breaking down the barriers to ID management
Deployment is now the key challenge facing users of identity management software, said Thor Technologies as it introduced an updated version of its Xellerate Identity Manager.

The new release will make it easier for large enterprises to implement identity management, the company added, even in cases where there might be thousands of applications and hundreds of thousands of user accounts involved.

It said that version 8.5 of Xellerate included two notable extra features - a Web-based deployment manager, and a graphical interface for use when modelling and tracking user-provisioning workflows. Thor Tech added that the ability to audit these workflows, including how they handle exceptions, is vital when it comes documenting your security processes and ensuring continued regulatory compliance.

Network discovery goes hybrid
Management software company nLayers has added active discovery capabilities to its flagship InSight tool for mapping IT infrastructures. InSight version 4.0 now uses a hybrid active/passive approach, the company said, with passive detection to map dependencies, usage and service levels, then adding active discovery to gather detailed information on specific servers or services.

Active discovery methods include SNMP, SSH and WMI (Windows management instrumentation), and the discovered data is all piped into a federated configuration management database. It can then be used for tasks such as change and configuration tracking, ITIL development, capacity planning, and for comparing the configurations of different services and components.