Kerio Control from Kerio Technologies is an interesting product in this space. This tool is comprised of software that can be installed on a dual-homed Microsoft Windows machine at the gateway or it is available as a virtual appliance for use in a VMware ESX environment. Once installed, this product can provide gateway firewall and intrusion prevention, along with spam, spyware and virus protection, web content filtering and email virus protection. Kerio Control also provides VPN capabilities and network monitoring and bandwidth control.
We found this tool to be easy to use from installation through configuration and management. The installation itself consists of running an executable that launches an installer package. After a short setup wizard, the installer implements all the components, including the web-based management console. At the completion of the install, all further configuration and management is done using this utility. We found the console itself to be easy and intuitive to navigate with a clean and organized look.
Policy configuration is also quite simple, and policy can be configured to be broad or quite granular based on users or groups. Initial connectivity is easily set up using the network rules wizard. At the completion of this step, the base set of network access rules for the firewall are put in place, and configuration of the other services, such as the web filter, can be started.
We found that the majority of the initial configuration was straightforward, but did require some time clicking around and setting up policy. However, we did like the available integration with the already existing Active Directory user and group infrastructure for managing group and user policy. This product also can integrate with an external anti-virus engine, along with the built-in AV engine, to provide an extra layer of virus scanning to the environment.
Documentation includes a step-by-step guide that details initial deployment scenarios with many useful diagrams, along with a full administrator guide. The administrator guide covers the product from installation through advanced configuration of the product features. We find this guide to be well-organized with many step-by-step instruction and quite a few screen shots. We would like to see more screen shots and configuration examples for the initial configuration process, but for the most part we find the document to be easy to follow.
Kerio offers full 24/5 phone and email technical support to all customers with an active license. Customers also have access to a small help area on the website, which includes product documentation downloads and a knowledge base.
At a base price of $265 for the first five users, and $26 per user after that plus the cost of hardware, we find this product to be an average value for the money. While it may be a reasonable offering for smaller environments, this solution is not very cost-effective for larger environments. We find that while it did have some decent functionality, it does not provide much in the way of robustness. This paired with an annual renewal cost starting at around $8.70 per user per year, and we find this product to have an overall high cost of ownership. - MS