Astaro Web Gateway 3000
Strengths: Many features above and beyond simple web filtering
Weaknesses: Not easy to set up and administrate
Verdict: Provides a high amount of web-based protection, but not as intuitive to use as we'd like
The Astaro Web Gateway 3000 combines URL filtering, detection of malware and control over IM and peer-to-peer applications, including Skype and BitTorrent. For malware detection, it uses two separate scanning engines providing detection of viruses, malware, spyware and active content. This approach provides a broad spectrum of protection and control for the enterprise.
The setup process is quite lengthy. The initial setup and configuration is all done manually, without the use of a wizard. The setup procedure outlined in the administration guide could lead to setup errors or the device not being configured properly. After setup, administration is done using the web admin interface. This web GUI is a little awkward to navigate. Most settings require a host or device to be entered into the system and then policy is created by a drag and drop.
URL filtering in Astaro Web Gateway grants web access according to user, time settings and policies, which can be based on 97 categories that contain over 35 million sites; newly discovered websites are updated automatically using the Up2Date functionality built into the Web Gateway. This product can also be tied into Active Directory, eDirectory, LDAP and other supported authentication environments, for greater integration with an existing user infrastructure.
Documentation is in the form of two PDF manuals. One is a quick-start guide that provides the initial steps of connecting to the device. The other is an administrator guide that details initial configuration and detailed advanced configuration of the product features.
Both guides are well organised and include many screenshots and step-by-step instructions.
Astaro offers varying levels of technical support as part of a support contract. Support options include phone and email technical support, hardware replacement, updates and product upgrades. There is also a knowledgebase and user forum available at no cost on the website.
At a price of just under £2,690, this product is average value for the money. While it does have some nice features, we found it to be quite difficult to set up and administrate, which adds to the overall cost of ownership.