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Rollout: eSoft ThreatWall 450 Web Security Gateway

The Upshot

With its ThreatWall 450 Web Security Gateway, eSoft aims to make allowing employees to surf the Internet a safer proposition. The ThreatWall combines antivirus, anti-spyware and anti-spam capabilities into a single appliance. It scans common Web protocols for malware, provides URL filtering, and can allow or disallow IM and P2P traffic.
This is a crowded market: Secure Computing's Webwasher provides many of the same functions as the ThreatWall 450. Barracuda Networks and Blue Coat Systems offer URL and malware filtering appliances, while Websense and SurfControl take the software route. Barracuda, Blue Coat, Akonix and FaceTime Communications all make appliances to control IM and file sharing, while ScanSafe offers Web filtering and malware protection as a service.
In our tests, the ThreatWall worked as advertised. It adds value by bundling features that most rival vendors sell separately, and with a software upgrade it can apply its anti-malware capabilities to network and Web protocols, providing more bang for the buck. And, the appliance form factor means simplified installation, something the small IT staffs common to eSoft's target SME market will welcome.

eSoft ThreatWall 450 Web Security Gateway

The Internet has become a depressingly common vector for viruses and spyware, not to mention a fantastic way for users to waste time and violate corporate usage policies, often with the aid of Web-based applications like IM and P2P file sharing. For small and medium enterprises, this trouble is compounded by short-handed IT staffs and tight budgets.
Enter the ThreatWall 450 from eSoft. This Web gateway appliance scans common Web protocols such as HTTP for viruses, spyware and spam; filters URLs to stop employees from surfing to restricted sites; and can block or allow the use of well-known IM and P2P file sharing apps.

These same capabilities are available from a variety of competitors on a variety of platforms, including appliances, software and services. However, eSoft bundles popular features into an easy-to-deploy appliance at a price—$3,299 plus yearly subscriptions—that SMEs will find manageable. Throw in a software upgrade, and the appliance can also scan network protocols, acting as a network IPS in addition to a Web filter.

On the downside, it lacks specialized capabilities found in dedicated devices, such as IM/P2P proxies. And its ease-of-use advantage is challenged by service providers that offer many of the functions of the ThreatWall 450.

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