Security Explorer - 01 Aug 1998

View and alter the security permissions for your files with ease

Rogue permissions are the bane of every systems administrator. Have you ever migrated users from one group to another and then spent hours tracking and updating the security permissions of files and directories so that your migrated users can access them? Security Explorer, from Small Wonders of Orlando, helps you manage your file security better.

Security Explorer is a utility that lets you view and change the security permissions on files in your Windows NT environment. The utility's extensive search capabilities let you search across subdirectories for permissions on specific groups and modify those permissions recursively on your system without affecting the permissions of other users. As Screen 1 shows, you can even replace the security permissions for an entire group with permissions for another group (e.g., move all the permissions for the marketing group to the sales group).

Up and Running
Installing Security Explorer is simple. My test copy arrived on two disks. I installed the program on my primary NT 4.0 Server, a home-built Micronics-based dual-Pentium II system. This server, with 8GB of hard disk space at 75 percent capacity, serves all the users in my test lab, so it was a natural selection. After running the setup program, I had to answer a few simple questions regarding the program's installation. A few minutes later, I started using the software--no reboot was necessary. The install program automatically places the Security Explorer icon on your desktop.

Running Security Explorer launches a Windows Explorer-like screen from which you can search, view, and manipulate security permissions on your server's drives. You can launch the program using the Start Menu, Security Explorer's desktop icon, or Windows Explorer. To launch the program in Windows Explorer, you right-click the file you want to perform a security-related operation on and select the Security Explorer option.

User Interface
Similar to Windows Explorer, Security Explorer uses a dual-pane window configuration, with directories shown in the left pane and a directory's contents shown in the right pane. You navigate through directories by expanding and collapsing branches. A series of toolbar buttons along the top of the window lets you perform various security functions once you select a file or directory.

Overall, I was not very pleased with Security Explorer's user interface. Although setting or changing the permissions for a file or directory took fewer keystrokes in Security Explorer than in Windows Explorer, I still found the process tedious. For instance, to change a directory's permissions, you navigate through the directory list, click the directory, and then click the Grant or Revoke permissions toolbar button, which launches a dialog box in which you can make the necessary changes.

Program Highlights
One feature of Security Explorer I really liked, and which makes the program worth purchasing, is its search capabilities. You can search by user, group, or permission. For instance, you might search the C drive to see what files user jdeignan or group marketing has. Or, you can search for files and directories with specific permissions, such as take ownership, to help you identify specific security problems.

After you specify your search criteria, an interim screen with search results appears. You select a file or directory in the result list and click View permissions to see the permissions for that file. You can then change the permissions for the file if you want.

I also liked Security Explorer's permissions clone feature. When you clone permissions, you select the permissions of a user or group as the source and specify the user or group to which you want to clone the permissions. This feature lets you create new groups and move permissions for your entire directory tree to the new group, saving yourself time and aggravation.

The time savings alone makes Security Explorer worth the investment. A free trial version is available via the company's Web site.

Security Explorer
Contact: Small Wonders of Orlando * 407-248-2558
Price: $249
System Requirements: Windows NT Server or NT Workstation 3.51 or 4.0
TAGS: Security
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