IBM Proventia MFS MX3006
Strengths: Very easy to deploy and manage with a high amount of functionality
Weaknesses: Most of the policies need to be turned on manually and the firewall is wide open at first deployment
Verdict: A strong product in the ISS tradition
In addition to firewall, anti-virus, anti-spam, IPS and a web content filter, the IBM-ISS Proventia appliance incorporates a VoIP protocol protection and a VPN to ensure communication coming into the network is properly secure. To expand on its already strong base, this appliance also provides protection from spyware. It can prevent spyware from being installed or, if a computer is already infected, it will block the spyware from communicating out.
We found this product quite easy to use. The set-up consists of a few simple steps guided by a wizard, and the appliance is pretty much ready to go. The GUI is Java based and can be run from any web browser on the network. The GUI is orderly and easy to use with an intuitive navigation structure. Components are organised into two categories: configuration and status. This made it easy to find exactly what we were looking for without having to go through a lot of menus.
This device can be deployed either in a routing mode or a transparent mode. Although it does come with some filters switched on by default, most are turned off. When we ran it through the test, we found it was passing a lot of traffic, both through the firewall and through IPS. When we looked at the logs, we noticed that it saw all traffic but the policies were set to pass the traffic by default. That said, the device did block most of the severe attacks.
A quick-start guide is the only documentation provided for this product. This card illustrates deployment modes and getting the appliance set up and running on the network. It also has a detailed diagram of the appliance, ports and what they do. The rest of the documentation can be found online or accessed from the support tab on the GUI. The online guides include an easy-to-follow user's guide. This includes clear step-by-step procedures with many illustrations and diagrams.
ISS offers support plans including online technical support and phone and email support. The support plans can also include features such as training, product upgrade and update downloads and threat-analysis services. The knowledge base and product documentation are available on the website.
Prices start at £2,752. This product offers reasonable ease of management and a high level of protection at a fairly average cost. We find this device to be good value for the money.