SonicWall adds muscle to UTM, SSL VPN lines

Small businesses used to be overlooked when it came to being able to buy enterprise-class unified threat management appliances.

SonicWall says those days are over with the release of its latest TZ series models. The Sunnyvale, Calif., company said Tuesday its TZ 210 integrates a 200Mbps deep packet inspection firewall with a 50Mbps unified threat management (UTM) capability for about $1,163.

There’s also a Wireless-N version that includes 802.11n capability.

The new models “finally brings a truly high-speed, high performance unified threat management to the small business,” said John Gordineer, SonicWall’s director of product management.

The company also announced firmware changes to its Aventail SRA line of SSL VPNs that improve detection of threats.

Rated for up to 50 users, the TZ 210 “starts to complete the vision of bringing a high performance network solution down to even small business customers, who often face some pretty dramatic challenges today,” said Gordineer. The models become the top of the TZ line, which had been headed by the TZ190. However, the TZ 210’s UTM throughput is five times faster – although it costs about $200 more. However, the TZ 210 will also include an SSL VPN and dynamic routing through a firmware upgrade later this quarter. Above it is the more powerful and feature-laden NSA 240 for small business and remote offices,

The TZ 210, which runs on the same operating system as all of the company’s UTM devices, is powered by a 500Mhz single-core CPU and includes 256Mb of memory. Because of its architecture, Gordineer said, these appliances don’t need to buffer files to memory and therefore can scan in real time. It also includes two Gigabit Ethernent WAN ports and and five Fast Ethernet LAN ports.

Among its competitors, Gordineer said, are Juniper’s SSG5 and Fortinet’s 60B unified threat management appliances. The TZ 210 also allows network managers various data controls, including control over the types of files users can send out, IM and P2P management and the ability to prioritize VoIP traffic.

The Aventail SRA (secure remote access) line of enterprise SSL VPNs was picked up by SonicWall over a year ago. Since then it has introduced only small changes to the devices’ firmware, but now, it is releasing Version 10.0 with major upgrades.

According to Chris Witeck, SonicWall’s director of remote access solutions, one of the biggest is advanced endpoint control. The previous firmware only allowed administrators to check Windows devices logging onto the network. V. 10.0 now adds the ability to screen Macintosh and Linux devices.

Administrators will also like what SonicWall calls reoccurring endpoint control, which is the ability to regularly query devices for their status after they’ve been authenticated. That should solve the problem of users who – accidentally or not – turn off anti-virus or firewalls after they’ve got behind the firewall. The default setting is five minutes.

User session monitoring has been beefed up, so not only can administrators see a list of current network users and when they started a session, but also a slew of other information including how much data the user is moving, their IP address, what agents are on their devices and a list of the applications they are trying to access.

For staff or temporary workers who connect to the network through Windows Mobile devices, the firmware now can tie the user’s credentials to the WinMobile IMEI identifier to Active Director or an LDAP directory. If they don’t match the user doesn’t get on the network.

Finally, administrators will have the ability to give a one-time password by e-mail or text message to users who may need second-factor authentication.

There’s also a small physical change to the hardware. The SRA EX1600 and 2500 models are about to be phased out in favor of the EX6000 and EX7000. None of their features change, but cosmetically the new models will fit in with the rest of the SonicWall SSL VPN family.

The EX6000 starts at US$8,495, including a licence for up to 25 concurrent users. It can be licenced for up to 250 users. The EX7000 can be licenced for up to 2,000 concurrent users.

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