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Stories by Joel Snyder

  • Testing All-in-one Firewalls

    Are there unified threat management (UTM) firewalls with the chops to provide the perimeter security functions that an enterprise needs?

  • Watts up with power consumption?

    The data center may seem a big place, but watts are watts: Every one you use costs you money. Two firewalls in a high-availability pair may not be the biggest power expense in a computer room, but that's no excuse to waste wattage.

  • A closer look at UTM hardware architecture

    One of the appliances we received was simply an off-the-shelf server (IBM's System x3650). Other devices ranged from very lightly customized (Secure Computing put an IPS accelerator board and a customized BIOS in a Dell box to yield its Sidewinder 2150D) to the heavily engineered chassis found in the Juniper ISG-1000 and the Fortinet FortiGate 3600A.

  • Tracking UTM high availability

    The high-availability (HA) and scalability features in the enterprise UTM firewalls we tested range from very fancy to dead simple.

  • VPN capabilities vary widely across UTM firewall devices

    Despite the fact that VPNs and firewalls have been residing on the same box for over seven years, our testing of both of the site-to-site and remote access VPN capabilities showed an astonishing variation on the quality of VPN implementations.

  • UTM performance takes a hit

    Because every network requires a different way of measuring performance and most UTM products offer thousands of deployment options, it's hard to draw even general conclusions about how these products will behave in your network. However, we can say that most enterprises will want to proceed cautiously when adding UTM features, such as intrusion-prevention systems and antivirus scanning, to their perimeter firewall boxes, because of their unpredictable impact on total system performance.

  • Best practices for implementing messaging security

    Most enterprises have some type of messaging security in the form of spam and virus filtering. When installing a new or replacement messaging-security system, key areas to pay attention to are performance, user experience, and management and operational costs. Performance is generally easy to manage. Aside from simply having enough hardware to do the job, there are three keys to keep performance up to par.

  • Best practices for implementing messaging security

    Most enterprises have some type of messaging security in the form of spam and virus filtering. When installing a new or replacement messaging-security system, key areas to pay attention to are performance, user experience, and management and operational costs. Performance is generally easy to manage. Aside from simply having enough hardware to do the job, there are three keys to keep performance up to par.

  • UTM firewalls: Ready for the enterprise

    IT managers at small and midsize businesses like unified threat management appliances - firewalls that layer on antimalware protection, content filtering, antispam and intrusion prevention - because deploying a single, multi-function device reduces costs and simplifies configuration.

  • Why Vista is missing from NAC landscape

    Microsoft's Vista operating system has been shipping since January, with beta code available for over a year before that. Yet, neither of the two NAC frameworks tested have any inherit support for Microsoft's newest operating system. What gives?

  • When a product is better than the company

    As a product tester, I always tell people: The product speaks for itself. White papers, customer wins, marketing spin: None of that counts. I don't have to be convinced by a public relations person that the product is good, because good products prove themselves in our lab. In 2004, when I last tested mail security appliances, CipherTrust's IronMail was on our short list as a top finalist. It's a good product, and it proved itself in our labs.

  • Efficient and feature-packed

    Juniper's Secure Access SSL VPN offering repeats its leadership of our head-to-head testing with a huge set of features, strong configuration capabilities and outstanding interoperability.

  • Easy integration but functionality lacking

    SonicWall has just recently thrown its hat in the ring with the introduction of its SSL-VPN 2000 appliance but the company's got some feature development distance to go and some bugs to fix in the 1.0.0 version we tested before it can be a serious contender.