The gateProtect GPZ 2500 is quite possibly the be all and end all of perimeter network security. This appliance features the standard UTM functionalities of firewall, intrusion prevention system, anti-virus, anti-spyware, web content filtering and email content filtering, but the features do not stop there. It also features application management, single sign-on capabilities, zero-hour mail protection, as well as load balancing and virtual local area network (VLAN) capabilities, to name a few. Using this appliance at the gateway can enable administrators to easily manage strong network security policy without sacrificing speed or performance.
The big piece of this product is its flexibility and configurability. A couple of years ago when we first reviewed it, we had trouble making it work properly. We thought it was awkward and difficult to use. However, last year we spent some time learning how to use it and found it to be a lot easier to configure than we originally thought. Well, this year we did some more experimenting and found that no matter the complexity of the environment, this product can be configured to provide granular control and security policy without being overly complicated.
The initial configuration of the appliance and all management is done using a client application-based management console. The console itself can be a little overwhelming at first, but after some clicking around becomes quite comfortable and familiar. This solution takes a different angle on policy configuration. It uses what will essentially become a network and group map to assign policy. All configuration involves simply a drag-and-drop of components, such as user or network groups, onto the desktop of the management interface and then connecting them. The connections can then have policy attached and the product is configured. At the completion of configuration, the desktop will provide an easy-to-view map of how and where policy is applied, so adjustments or additions can be easily made without having to go through lines and lines of rules.
Documentation includes a one-page quick-start guide, along with a PDF user manual. The quick-start guide provides a few short steps that are necessary to get the appliance connected to the network, as well as access instructions for the management interface. We found all documentation to be well-organized and easy to follow.
Customers who purchase gateProtect appliances receive 24/7 phone and email technical support at no cost for the first 30 days after purchase. After 30 days, customers can purchase additional assistance through an annual plan which is available in two levels. These include 24/7 phone- and email-based technical support.
At a price just shy of $16,500, this solution may seem quite pricey at first. However, we find the gateProtect GPZ an excellent value for the money. It combines a high amount of functionality and flexibility with an easy-to-use management interface that can streamline perimeter and network security policy with minimal effort from administrators.- MS