Sidewinder G2 1100C
Strengths: Feature-rich UTM security appliance with a lot of flexiblity.
Weaknesses: Cost both in relation to time and money. Hard to manage, difficult to configure.
Verdict: Lots of features at an above average price; power also comes at a cost in terms of complexity.
The Sidewinder G2 is a powerful multi-function security tool, but requires some experience to get really comfortable with its management.
The management interface is put together in an awkward tree style, requiring time-expanding menus to find what you are looking for. The structure itself is not intuitive, and we found ourselves searching the endless documentation to find out how to configure the box. But once you get it going, this is a feature-rich appliance. Along with basic ekements such as firewall, VPN, web URL filtering, anti-virus, anti-spam and intrusion prevention, SideWinder G2 also offers goodies including IM and peer-to-peer filtering, as well as Java and Active-X filters. The box is well integrated, but you will need to set aside plenty of time for features configuration. In fact, we found that administration is a big issue for this appliance. The configuration menus are not intuitive and there is a large learning curve associated with making all policies, rules, and configurations work properly. Documentation includes an easy-to-follow quickstart card, a start-up guide, and an administration guide. The quickstart card outlines the several steps you need to follow to power up both the Sidewinder appliance and the management station software. The startup guide shows how to plan deployment and configurations. The administration guide illustrates the more in-depth managing of the device. While the admin guide is quite large, all documentation is available as a PDF document and is easy to search and navigate. Secure Computing offers a significant support capability, including free 24/7 phone support, email, online forums and an in-depth knowledge base that includes many useful support documents. Free patches and product updates can also be found in the support area of the website. This appliance starts at £12,256 for between 1,000 and 50,000 users. But subscriptions can then be purchased for anti-virus and anti-spyware (£3.77 to £7.53), anti-spam and anti-fraud (£5.31 to £8.22), and the SmartFilter (£4.11 to £8.56). This places it in the middle of the multi-function pack in terms of value for money.