Strengths: Ease of setup and management. Fully upgradable to do several other tasks such as web filtering and anti-virus protection.
Weaknesses: Can become very expensive. All the SoftPaks require an annual subscription fee.
Verdict: Modular system with lots of appeal for UTM as well as IPS.
The InstaGate has several interesting features. It can become more than just a firewall and IPS, as eSoft offers different software extensions, called SoftPaks. These include anti-virus, web filters, and IM and peer-to-peer filters. Apart from being an all-in-one device, it has a range of customisable reports and alert logs. It also includes several real-time monitors and keeps track of all internal and external activity.
The product is easy to use with an intuitive setup and a good web interface. Once plugged in, the web interface begins a setup wizard that guides administrators through all the basic setup steps, making deployment of the product quick and easy with little disruption to the network. After setup, the interface is very simple to navigate through, and finding information such as network monitors and reports is simple.
The InstaGate performed excellently against all tests. The Insta- Gate Pro is dual-homed. It has one internal and one external connection, which allow it to act as isolated entities on both sides of the device. During our tests, we were only able to see the outside address of the box and could not get past to see inside to our target.
The appliance is supplied with a very specific quickstart guide as well as online guides on its website. The documentation for this product is very straightforward and covers all aspects of deployment and basic setup. For more advanced configurations and fine tuning, there is more documentation for the product online.
Support is excellent, with 24-7 telephone support as well as an online support centre, which includes a solution database of all the previous answers. If further support is needed, there is an area to submit questions through email and a support team will respond with the specific fix information.
This product has a base price and then can be loaded with as much extra capability as needed. Each SoftPak has a different annual subscription fee, so it can become very expensive depending on how many features are desired.With all support included, however, it can be worth the price.