Strengths: Solid IPS with integrated gateway anti-virus provided by ClamAV
Weaknesses: Policy configuration is difficult and the management application is awkward to use
Verdict: A bit of a challenge to manage but a solid gateway tool nonetheless
The NETASQ U450 provides features including a firewall, IPS, VPN, SSL VPN, web content filtering, gateway anti-virus provided by the ClamAV engine, and gateway anti-spam. So it is just like most UTMs we see - but we found an interesting feature that ties nicely into the IPS. This appliance does dynamic network vulnerability assessment as well.
Setup for this appliance is really divided into two steps. The first is easy and guided not by a wizard but by a tutorial. This setup tutorial is launched from the included CD and guides you through the steps to get initial access to the web GUI and set the IP and network configurations for this UTM.
At the completion of the tutorial, we had to download the management software and install it. This is where things got a little more complicated. The management console and monitoring console applications are a little confusing and awkward to navigate at first.
We found creating policies to be difficult and not very intuitive through the management console. However, there are a few default IPS and firewall policies in place initially, so we were able to get a good understanding of policy options available, using those as starting points.
This product did perform well under test and the near real-time monitoring application did give us clear and easy-to-read information about the attacks.
Documentation includes many PDF guides for both the management and monitoring consoles. While these guides are quite lengthy - the management application administrator guide is almost 700 pages long - they are well organised and provide a great amount of detail, including step-by-step instructions, screenshots and configuration examples for the U450.
NETASQ has a few different levels of support, which offer varying access to phone and email support as well as various warranty and upgrade options. We found nothing on the NETASQ website that indicated an online support area.
At a price just under £4,500, we find this product to be average value for money. We also found that it had a few weak points regarding ease of management and there is a slight learning curve with this appliance.