Panda Security GateDefender Integra eSeries eSB
Strengths: Well-done interface and low cost.
Weaknesses: Mostly comprised of freely available software, poor documentation requires some familiarity with UTMs.
Verdict: While it’s hard to get over the fact that this product is essentially a collection of open source software, the interface is so well put together that we believe it’s worth the fee for support, provided one is familiar with the individual components.
Panda Security's GateDefender Integra eSeries eSB is both easy to set up and offers a rich feature set with a great deal of flexibility. To get the most out of the product, however, administrators should be familiar with a number of open-source technologies.
The product was provided to us as bootable ISO. Upon boot, we were presented with a DOS-style GUI installer. We were prompted to input an IP address for the LAN interface, after which the OS installation proceeded to completion. After a quick reboot, the console directed us to access the product's web interface, where a post-installation wizard began. We chose a root password for console access and an administrator password for use in the web interface. We then configured the WAN interface and an administrator's email for notifications. This brought us to the end of the wizard, and a message was displayed indicating services were being restarted. However, there was no progress bar or any indication of activity until an authentication window popped up about a minute later.
The GateDefender Integra eSeries eSB provides all of the functionality we'd expect from a UTM, featuring a firewall, HTTP proxy, content filter, spam and anti-virus filters, intrusion prevention system and VPN functionality. However, the product, almost in its entirety, is comprised of freely available open source software. For example, the base operating system appears to be RedHat Linux, IPS services are provided via Snort, the HTTP proxy via squid, spam filter via SpamAssassin, and so on. The real value, then, comes from the included support and the outstanding administration interface. Panda Security has clearly put a great deal of effort into unifying these disparate software packages into a single, high-performance UTM. In addition, the company has built in a remote administration service that, when activated, permits an administrator to open a secure tunnel to their device via Panda Security's website.
Documentation is barely passable. While a number of PDFs are available - including quick-start, installation and user guides - they are extremely text-heavy. No bookmarks or indexing are included and, of the few diagrams and screen shots provided, some of them are in Spanish and some in English. The administrator's guide can be found on the website, but it is an HTML document; again, very text heavy and at times difficult to navigate. In addition to these weaknesses, information on some of the UTM features is scarce. The documentation appears to be written with the assumption that the administrator is already familiar with the software encapsulated in the product, or that the administrator will make use of information available elsewhere. Information on the anti-virus engine was missing completely at the time of this writing.
Panda Security offers only one tier of support, which is provided 24/7/365 via phone or email. The company also hosts an online knowledge base, FAQ and user support forum.
The GateDefender Integra eSeries eSB is priced at $1,505 per year for up to 50 users, which includes support.