Hard Drive Software – RedHand Pro 6 review

security and monitoring tool
Photo of Hard Drive Software – RedHand Pro 6
£60 + VAT per user (approx., with reductions for larger orders)

What’s the most destructive, hostile environment for any computer? Is the laptop-using sales bod’s car boot? Or a publishing house where the keyboards are used as ashtrays? Not even close. Obviously it’s a school. Nothing comes close to the devious, cunning malice with which school kids will hack away at the PC, changing Windows settings, ‘borrowing’ other pupils’ essays, or just deleting them from the network.

So it’s fitting that this piece of software was initially developed for a school, although since then it seems to have evolved considerably. Basically, RedHand Pro is a piece of software that protects Windows settings from malicious or accidental abuse, while simultaneously tracking user activity. In this way, systems administrators can keep track of what their users are doing, safe in the knowledge that they’re unlikely to be able to do much damage.

Once installed on a user’s PC, RedHand Pro keeps track of software use, records all activity, prevents new software being installed – and that includes e-mail virii such as ‘I Love You’ – and can even limit Internet activity or provide time limits on the use of other software. Whenever the PC boots up, it copies its log files to the central server, regardless of the type of network used, and the system administrator can be alerted to any attempts to do naughty things…

RedHand Pro is compatible with Windows 95/98/NT4 and 2000. Installation is straight-forward, but removal, once in ‘stealth’ mode, can only be achieved by typing the password into the ‘Run’ box of the Start Menu under Windows.

Will it stop users booting from a floppy and stealing or deleting files on the hard drive? No, but that’s not really what it’s for. Where its strengths lie are in offices where networked machines are regularly abused – such as through the unauthorised installation of new software and games, or through Internet e-mail virii. Using RedHand Pro, systems administrators can ensure that the Windows configuration they deploy remains unchanged by the malice, curiosity or plain incompetence of the users.

Company: Hard Drive Software

Contact: 01963 351758


Verdict
This is a simple, powerful and easy to use solution to the problem of unauthorised software use. It's unlikely to win many favours with users who don't want to give up their lunchtime game of Quake III, but it's the sort of tool that could significantly reduce a system administrator's bill for headache pills.