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Sometimes you think everyone knows what you do and, conversely, if you don't know something neither does anyone else. You've seen this phenomenon whenever some newbie comes up to you to chatter away about the wonders of the Web, or e-mail, or - well, you catch my drift. I was reminded of this when a reader asked about granting console access to her helpdesk personnel. There were some things she wanted them to see, some things she wanted them to do and lots of things she wanted to hide from them completely.

I asked if she was using SecureConsole and she wrote back asking what the proper syntax to invoke the " secure console " was. That made me think that it might be time to remind people about the nifty little tool from Protocom Development.

SecureConsole is a NetWare server utility which, simply put, lets you decide which console resources administrators and help desk personnel can have access to. With it you can assign rights to individual screens (e.g. the Server Console, Backup screen, NDPS Manager screen etc.) or individual commands/applications (e.g. Monitor, NWConfig, DSRepair etc.). There are special options such as granting or denying access to the server's dos partition, the various SET parameters, the internal debugger and even the SecureConsole administrator application.

As just one small example of the flexibility and functionality of SecureConsole consider the possibilities for an emergency user. You know that, sometimes, you can't be on site when console access is needed for some critical operation. You don't want to allow scads of people to have unlimited console access, so what can you do? SecureConsole allows three levels of emergency console access - in addition to the traditional console operator status that you and your most trusted helpers have.

There's Normal Emergency Users, who function in the same manner as a normal NDS user, except the data associated with a Normal Emergency User is cached on the server rather than being stored in NDS - so they can only access one server. Then there's the One Time Emergency User who must have a one-time password generated for them each time they log on as that Emergency User (you do not need connectivity to the server to generate the one-time password). Finally, there's the ability to use Vasco Digipass (see: www.vasco.com/products/) to provide hardware tokens that can be used to generate one-time passwords that are compatible with SecureConsole.

I've only brushed the surface here - SecureConsole is an essential piece of software for any NetWare network. It's so essential that I tend to forget that not everyone knows about it and not everyone has it. If you don't have it, start rectifying that condition today by visiting www.protocom.cc/ and downloading the trial version.

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Dave Kearns is a writer and consultant in Silicon Valley. His most recent book is "Peter Norton's Complete Guide to Networks" published by SAMS. Dave's company, Virtual Quill, provides content services to network vendors: books, manuals, white papers, lectures and seminars, marketing, technical marketing and support documents. Virtual Quill provides "words to sell by..." Find out more at Virtual Quill or by e-mail at info@vquill.com

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