Strengths: Scaleable to suit any environment with included IPS
Weaknesses: Documentation is not easily accessible and not very specific
Verdict: The Connectra is well-conceived and a solid performer. Documentation needs work, but if you are prepared to dig a bit this can be a very good buy
Check Point's appliance allows for both web- and network-based SSL connections via a web browser. It allows users to access information through its own, customisable web portal. The range of applications users can access include web-based applications and resources, shared files and email. The Connectra also incorporates its own intrusion prevention system, which provides extra security.
This appliance supports several authentication methods, including Active Directory, client certificates, internal database, LDAP, Radius and RSA SecureID. It did not succumb to our vulnerability or penetration testing. Additional encryption available is solid including such algorithms as 3DES and AES. In this regard, it was as complete as any of the products we tested, if not more.
We found the Connectra to be easy to set up and use. We started from the beginning, installing the Connectra system from the supplied CD and configuring it from scratch. The web interface is nicely laid out and has a clean look to it. Menus are intuitive and it did not take us long to learn how to get to the areas we were looking for.
Check Point's box is supplied with a getting started guide as its only source of hard documentation. This guide shows steps of installing the Linux-based system to the appliance and lists some of the basic setup steps. However, this guide seemed less than complete and left us to fill in the holes ourselves. Other guides are available on the Check Point website, but accessing them involves users to create an account, which we found excessive simply to obtain the documentation we needed to manage the appliance. We feel that the product is somewhat let down by this lack of documentation.
Check Point is a mature company and its maturity shows in its support options. These include 24/7 technical phone support, email and support packages that can be obtained via support contracts. Support service contracts include hardware replacement, automatic software updates and technical support.
With packages covering such a wide price range, there is a Connectra appliance for almost any network, whatever the size of the organisation. We found that its ease of use and the fact that it incorporates its own intrusion prevention adds to its overall value.