Instagate PRO appliance
Strengths: The range of optional SoftPak modules makes the device flexible and able to be tailored to users’ specific requirements.
Weaknesses: Firms might prefer to stick with their existing security protections.
Verdict: A powerful, well-designed unit that is scalable, easy to set up and manage and comes with a flexible range of functionality modules.
Taking a slightly different approach, eSoft has designed the device to act as more of a base hardware platform, onto which users can load security functions through a “mix and match” selection of software add-ons, dubbed SoftPaks.
There are 11 SoftPaks, such as eSoft’s SiteFilter tool. There are also packs that cover specific security functions such as gateway antivirus, desktop antivirus, intrusion detection, firewall policy and VPN management, VPN client configuration, internet server, smart reporting tools and mail server.
Initial setup takes place through a simple, well thought-out configuration process, with the Instagate adapting itself automatically for the network in which it is being installed – a key attraction for the smaller firms at which it is marketed. Once we had the unit up and running, it was a simple matter to install additional SoftPak modules.
The vendor has clearly gone the extra mile to make setup and management, and the installation of SoftPaks, as painless as possible.
This is very welcome, especially when compared with the convoluted setup and management procedures for some of the other devices in this test.
In terms of its hardware, there is nothing exceptional about the 1U rack mount Instagate PRO unit, which is based on an Intel Celeron CPU running at 850 Mhz. It ships with 256MB of memory and a 40GB hard drive.
However, should it become necessary to use the device to protect more than 1,000 clients, multiple Instagate units can be clustered together to boost scalability.
Connectivity options were adequate, with 10/100 Ethernet WAN, LAN and DMZ ports augmented by two USB and serial ports, and one parallel port.
Optional network interfaces include ADSL, T1/E1 and V.90 analog modem connectivity. The provision of WAN failover allows for a redundant configuration of internet connections.