Following its acquisition of Web server protection manufacturer NetContinuum eight months ago, Barracuda Networks has started releasing its promised low-cost versions of the technology for small and medium businesses.

It did so today by showing off three models of the Barracuda Web Site Firewall, ranging in price from US$4,999 to US$14,999.

“We believe this is a much bigger market than previously revealed by heritage vendors in this space,” Stephen Pao, Barracuda’s vice-president of product management said in explaining why the company is going after SMB operators of Web site servers.

NetContinuum’s customers were largely large organizations such as governments and banks, he said. But Barracuda believes that smaller companies – which have been the targets for its anti-spam, instant messaging, Web filtering and load balancing security appliances – also need a Web server firewall as well.

\The Web Site Firewalls sit in between a network firewall and a Web server, acting as a proxy for both inbound and outbound traffic to protect hackers from breaking into the network or applications.

The three models share most features, including Web site cloaking, outbound data theft protection, HTTP protocol validation, form field meta data validation, protocol limit checks and Ethernet hard bypass and SSL offloading.

The base model 360, which sells for $4,999, is for companies with up to five Web servers. The US$8,999 model 460, for companies with a T3 Internet connection and up to 10 servers, includes load balancing, while the US$14,999 model 660, for companies with up to 25 Web servers, includes load balancing and hardware-based SSL acceleration.

Meanwhile Barracuda continues to make the more expensive NetContinuum models. The new trio, however, have a management interface similar to the one used in other Barracuda products, which Pao said should please network managers using those appliances.

The software also includes reports covering the system, Web firewall, audit and PCI logs. As will all Barracuda products, the operating system for the new Web Site Firewalls is automatically upgraded.

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“We’re offering comprehensive Web site protection,” Pao said, “and, as much as we can, we’re doing it in a way that requires no knowledge of the back end application.”

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