The Safe@Office 225 firewall and VPN appliance represents Check Point's attempt to expand into the small business sector.

With support for 25 users and 8,000 concurrent connections, the 80 Mbps Safe@Office 225 is the second most powerful device in the company's range of four products targeted at smaller firms.

The distinctive, but tiny, unit combines the functionality of a stateful inspection firewall, built on the company's patented intelligent inspection technology (INSPECT) with a remote access VPN, a four-port Ethernet switch.

The product also has DMZ/WAN ports that can be can be set up in a configuration, so that in the event of connectivity failure, one internet connection automatically fails over to a backup ISP. It supports DSL, cable modem, fractional and full T1 internet connections.

Further back-up protection allows firms to deploy a redundant appliance that can be configured to automatically fail over in the event of the primary gateway falling over.

In addition to its core firewall and virtual private network functionality, the device supports optional additional subscription services such as web filtering, email anti-virus scanning, content filtering and automatic updates.

Customers can also select the dynamic DNS add-in which is designed to allow the selection of lower-cost (consumer of small business) broadband services, which typically do not supply a fixed IP address.

Installation was an absolute breeze. Once the network connection has been established, the appliance automatically assigns IP addresses via its DHCP server.

Check Point has clearly made an effort when designing the very easy-to-use web management interface. The technical voodoo of security configuration is hidden for the benefit of novice users behind an interface that simply prompts for low, medium or high firewall security settings.

Documentation, in the form of a clearly written and illustrated booklet, was first class, making the installation simple and painless.