F5 Networks BIG-IP Application Security Manager
Strengths: Advanced protection from bots and other web application threats.
Weaknesses: Slightly difficult to configure.
Verdict: Good features, at a price, but still affordable and a good value over its lifecycle.
The BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) from F5 Networks protects web applications from being vulnerable to threats, such as data theft and damage. This appliance includes policy-learning options, which allow administrators to make informed policy decisions. The ASM also includes protection against denial-of-service (DoS) and brute force attacks, as well as data leakage.
We found deployment and configuration of this appliance to be somewhat tricky. Once it is placed in the network, there is a lot of configuration that needs to be done manually to get it up and running. All configuration is done through the web-based management interface, which we found to be slightly confusing and awkward to use.
With that said, this product does offer a lot of configurable options and policy settings. We found it to have a great amount of flexibility when it came to creating policy and policy templates, and it also includes many prebuilt policies right out of the box. This product also offers a multitude of protections against not-so-obvious threats, such as bot detection.
Documentation includes quick-start and administrator guides, although the quick-start guide was not provided as a physical piece of documentation. We had to go to the website to find it in the knowledge base, which we found kind of frustrating. It would have been easier to just have a piece of documentation that was provided with the appliance. That being said, all documentation for this tool was well written and adequate.
F5 Networks offers multiple support options via a maintenance agreement. Customers can get access to multiple levels of phone- and email-based technical assistance, as well as to an online portal with many resources.
At a price just shy of $15,000, we find the BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) to be a good value for the money. While it is a little tricky to configure, it does boast some solid protection and a good feature set.