Not much has changed for this device since last year, but that may be a good thing. The Barracuda Web Filter is a solid device with some very nice features, including web URL filtering, which can be based on URL pattern; domain or content category; file type download blocking; application blocking, including update services, IM and music services such as iTunes; and integrated gateway and desktop spyware protection.

From the moment this device comes out of the box it is simple and intuitive to use. Setup takes only a few minutes and policy configuration is just as quick. We really liked the product’s web-based GUI for intuitive management, and the inline deployment makes for simple insertion into the network. This product is as close to plug and play web filtering as it gets and the default policy is quite comprehensive.

Along with the easy deployment, this product is also easily integrated into the network. Policy can be setup for both authenticated and unauthenticated users, and authentication can be based directly on the existing Active Directory structure. This allows for policy to be created based on certain users or groups. Policy construction and customization is also intuitive with many predefined categories which are further broken down to more specific subcategories. A simple check in either the block or allow box and the policy is up and running.

Documentation for this product consists of a quick start guide and an administrator’s guide. The quick start guide provides eight easy steps to get the product up and running in the environment while the administrator's guide provides more in-depth configuration information. Both guides are well organized and easy to understand with many screen shots and diagrams.

Barracuda offers both free and purchasable support options. Support includes phone and email support, live web chat, documentation downloads, a technical forum and training videos.

At a price just under $2,000, this product offers great value for the money. It is low cost both monetarily and administratively. This product has a comprehensive feature set along with simple and intuitive management.