Panda GateDefender Performa 9500
Strengths: Protects against a large number of web and email threats and uses heuristics to detect unknowns.
Weaknesses: Documentation lacked screen shots and setup is completely manual.
Verdict: Feature-rich, this product shows lots of promise, though there are a few small warts.
The Panda GateDefender Performa 9500 is a full function anti-malware gateway and a web filter and application control gateway as well. This product can protect against a multitude of threats, including viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, dialers, phishing and even hacking tools. The outbound SMTP protection identifies infected computers sending spam and malware without users' knowledge and corrals the infection.
We found this product to be a fairly straightforward install. The initial configuration is done via the web-based interface, which includes setting up IP and network information. The GateDefender, however, does not have a setup wizard. All configuration is done by manual setup via the web GUI. The web interface is easy to navigate and offers intuitive controls and we found it quite easy to configure the appliance.
We found setting up the various types of protections to be quite simple as well. The majority of the protection policies can be turned on or off via check boxes or action drop-down lists. This tool can also pull groups and users from Active Directory or LDAP for simple setup of access and protection policies.
Documentation provided with this appliance included a short installation guide and a PDF user guide. The installation guide details the initial configuration steps to get the product up and running in the network, while the user guide focuses on configuring the policies and various product features. The installation guide included a few screen shots and diagrams, but the user guide had no screen shots at all. The user guide did include icon illustrations and step-by-step instructions, but some screen shots could have been a helpful supplement to the documentation.
Panda offers phone and email support during business hours Monday through Friday at no cost to customers. There is also a full knowledge base, FAQ section and a documentation download area available on the website at no cost.
At a price just shy of $10,000, the Panda GateDefender may seem quite pricey, but it does offer a lot in terms of functionality. We find it to be a good value for the money.