Product Information

Content Security Manager 2100CF

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August 25, 2005

RATING BREAKDOWN

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QUICK READ

  • Strengths:

    Simple to manage; integrates with other SonicWALL products.

  • Weaknesses:

    Lacks the advanced features of other products.

  • Verdict:

    A quick and simple product to get running, it does a good job of blocking websites, but it doesn't have the range of advanced features as other products on test.

The 2100 CF is a dedicated content filtering appliance. It has three Fast Ethernet ports – two sit transparently inline with your internet, the third is a dedicated management port.

As with other SonicWall appliances, administration can be web-based or via the SonicWall Global Management System, which is used for centralized management of all SonicWall products.

We stuck with the standard web-based management for this test. It's similar to the interface used on the firewall products, which is no bad thing, as it's simple to navigate and use.

This is one of the easiest products to configure. First, you need to create a policy. This states which categories of sites and applications you want to block. The categories are automatically generated and take in the common range of sites, including adult content, gambling and bandwidth hogging. You can create your own custom lists of websites, but this means typing URLs in; you can also filter by keyword, but this is also a manual process.

Once you've generated your policies you need to apply them to specific groups. This can either be done by host or by username. The 2100 CF integrates with Active Directory and Radius Servers, so you can pull your existing users from there. Or you can populate the box with local users and force web users to log on before they can get access to the web.

With users and groups, you can choose which policy applies and schedule the times it applies. For example, you might decide that employees can surf travel websites at lunchtime and after work.

When tested, all test sites were blocked with the default warning page, which you can change to suit your company. It also successfully blocked our HTTP-Tunnel traffic. For sheer simplicity and ease of use the 2100 CF is a good choice that you can have running in minutes, and it doesn't need much management once running.

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