Strengths: All-inclusive pricing, no recurring subscription fees.
Weaknesses: Difficult to use at first.
Verdict: Get past the learning curve and this is a good bet, especially with favorable pricing.
SummaryThe SifoWorks U310A by O2Security provides capabilities such as firewall, IPsec VPN, SSL VPN, anti-virus through the use of dual anti-virus engines, IDP with automatic attack, signature database update capability, URL content filtering, P2P/IM software and web application blocking, and anomaly flow detection, as well as email scanning at the gateway. This is a lot of functionality in a single product.
Installation and configuration of the appliance is a manual process with no help from setup wizards. We found this tool to be quite difficult to configure from the very beginning. The web GUI is simple to navigate, but some of the settings are ambiguous and we were often confused by the lack of granularity in default policies. Most features can be either all the way on or all the way off.
Policy configuration is equally confusing. We found that this appliance comes basically naked with a very broad firewall policy and then everything has to be tightened down from there. This includes policy objects, routes, IPS policies and content filters. Each of these needs to be set up following lengthy procedures.
Documentation consists of two PDF guides. The first is a quick-start guide, which illustrates the initial configuration to get the appliance up and running. The second is a user manual, which provides in-depth configuration and management information. These guides also include many step-by-step instructions, but some of these can be vague and they don't offer much detail. There are also a good many screen shots, which provide a good amount of visual assistance.
O2Security offers annual support contracts at eight hours a day/five days a week and 24/7 support levels. These include both phone and email technical support, as well as access to a web support portal, which includes a knowledge base and FAQ section.
At a price just under $8,000, we find the SifoWorks U310A to be a good value for the money. While slightly expensive, this is an all-inclusive price. There are no recurring subscription costs for updates. The only drawback to this appliance's value is it does have a slight learning curve. This, of course, affects its overall cost of ownership and impacts its value somewhat in the early stage of ownership and deployment.