Strengths: All-inclusive pricing, no recurring subscription fees
Weaknesses: Difficult to use at first, due to manual configuration
Verdict: Get past the learning curve and this is a good bet, especially with favourable pricing
The SifoWorks appliance from O2 Security is a unified threat management product that provides many capabilities, including: firewall, IPSec VPN, SSL VPN, anti-virus through the use of dual anti-virus engines, IDP with automatic attack-signature database update capability, URL content filtering, P2P/IM software and web application blocking, and anomaly flow detection, as well as email scanning at the gateway.
Installation and configuration of this product is a manual process with no help supplied from setup wizards.
In fact, we found this appliance to be quite difficult to configure from the very beginning of the process.
The web-based GUI is simple to navigate but some of the settings are ambiguous and we were often confused by the lack of granularity in default policies. Most features can be either all the way on or all the way off.
Policy configuration is equally confusing. We found that this appliance comes basically naked with a very broad firewall policy and then everything has to be tightened down from there.
This includes policy objects, routes, IPS policies, and content filters. Each of these separate aspects needs to be set up via equally lengthy procedures.
Documentation consists of two PDF guides. The first is a quick-start guide that illustrates the initial configuration.
The second is a user manual that provides in-depth configuration and management information. These guides both include many step-by-step instructions but some of these can be vague and not offer the kind of detail you want.
There are also many screenshots that help provide a good amount of visual help.
O2 Security offers annual support contracts at 8/5 and 24/7 support levels. These levels include phone and email technical support as well as access to a web support portal, which includes a knowledgebase and FAQ section.
At a price just over £5,500, we find this product to be good value for money. While slightly expensive, this is an all-inclusive price for a feature-rich UTM.
There are no recurring subscription costs for updates. The only drawback to this appliance's value is that it does have a slight learning curve.