Strengths: The largest number of features of any device in this test
Weaknesses: Difficult to configure and administrate
Verdict: A complete enterprise firewall loaded with more features than most organisations will ever need
Secure Firewall (formerly Sidewinder) is an appliance-based offering that runs on a 1U rack-mounted device. It provides eight Ethernet interfaces, which can be separately addressed and configured.
The product is primarily a proxy-based firewall with options to perform stateful inspection of protocols as a secondary configuration. It supplies many types of protection by utilising both major firewall types. The firewall provides a logging and reporting mechanism that allows the administrator to see the results of traffic passed through.
The installation of Secure Firewall is a complex process befitting most enterprise-class firewalls. The initial configuration takes place through a serial connection and a hyperterm session followed by a proprietary configuration utility. Once the initial configuration is complete, additional configuration takes place using a network interface and a proprietary application for Secure Firewall.
Unlike other devices in this category, the installation and configuration was quite complex and took over an hour, while other devices took a matter of minutes to configure. The installation of the management client alone took more than 20 minutes to complete. Once the initial configuration is performed with hyperterminal, it is difficult to find the default password to log into the device.
Secure Firewall ships with a hard copy getting-started guide, which walks the administrator through the initial configuration and administration. Additional documentation is available on the printed administration guide, which is an 800-page book that covers the entire product in depth. The documentation for Secure Firewall also installs in an e-copy with the configuration and management client.
Support is available at an additional charge. For 24/7 support, the annual fee is 22 per cent of the purchased price of the device. The Secure Computing website has a password-protected knowledgebase that is available to current users. Three years of hardware support is included with the purchase price of the device.
The pricing for Secure Firewall ranges from £1,270 right up to £46,625, which means it can be priced anywhere in the spectrum for products in this test.