System management platform from Panda – Fusion

By | 7th March 2016

Intro

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been asked to look into Panda’s product for System Management – I jumped to the opportunity to share my findings.

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Panda Security SL, formerly Panda Software, is a Spanish computer security company founded in 1990 by Panda’s former CEO, Mikel Urizarbarrena, in the city of Bilbao, Spain. Initially producing antivirus software, the company has expanded its product range to include firewall applications, spam and spyware detection applications, cybercrime prevention technology, and other system management and security tools.

I will briefly look into the System Management Platform from Panda. Panda Fusion Panda Cloud Fusion is about managing enterprise devices, policies, apps and security. Much like Microsoft Intune and Enterprise Mobility suite. Or not.

All-in one device management solution sounds great, but in practice I’ve found that there are none in the market that do the job right.

How many working cross-platform management solution do you know? Even a giant like System Center (SCCM) doesn’t work as great on Macs (and you’re purchasing an extension to make it work – Parallels Mac Management) and after seeing how Intune aligns between platforms – my expectations for this were quite low.

The unification challenge becomes immensely complex if you take into account all the major platforms, their requirements and differences –  Windows, Macs, Linux, Android, iOS and Windows ARM architecture. Can Panda do it?

This is a high level overview and impression about this product, no deep technical dives into mechanisms and ways to deploy apps, settings and policies.

Panda solutions – editions and pricing

Let’s start with Edition comparison. It’s sales information heavy, the conclusion I get from this is that if Device Management is needed – you need the Fusion product.

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Pricing is a complete mystery, there’s no pricing calculator available (or it’s hidden very well), there are no support contact where you can ask about pricing. Community board doesn’t seem like a good communication channel for this. I got only as far as seeing this purchase order for 10 licenses (or more). ~70 EUR per year for 10 devices, 7 EUR per device per year, ~0.58 euro-cents for device per month. (Apr 2016 update: I’ve been corrected, it’s 70 EUR per year per one device, meaning that monthly cost for 1 device is multiplied by 10 times and nets ~5.8 EUR per device per month) This compares favorably to Intune or Microsoft EMS Suite. This does not compare favorably with Intune (5.5 EUR per month for Intune and 8 EUR per month per device for EMS).

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I haven’t been able to find a contact to get pricing for enterprise customers, partners or re-sellers.

Free Panda Fusion demo

After browsing the website for some time I’ve signed up for a free demo.

The management console is web based and accessible with a variety of browsers. There are separate consoles (websites) for EndPoint Protection Plus and Systems Management.

The console itself is more or less OK. For System Center Configuration Manager guys the technology looks a bit different, but you can get used to that.

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The Mobile Device Management (MDM) component I had particular interest in seems a bit outdated.

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The mobile device client capabilities and review numbers are few.

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There is built-in ticket support into the Windows Client.

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Conclusion

Pros

All in-one solution for smaller enterprises and companies, includes AV, updates, policies, integrated remote assistance tools and even basic incident management and ticket handling (!!!)

Cost. But you get what you pay for. (Apr 2016 update: I’ve been corrected and this is no longer a PRO, as the cost is comparable to other major solutions).

Cons

A niche solution, smaller community, limited support

Platform support (no Windows Mobile)

Limited management capabilities for mobile phones. Almost none – no way to deploy apps, limited number of configuration policies, no way to reset only company data on phone (a complete phone wipe is needed), no policies for phone storage encryption.

Hard to troubleshoot and operate, for example – there is an option to upgrade the AV agent on enrolled device to System Management Agent. Of course it does not work even after several days and there’s no obvious way to find out why.

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