Top Layer IPS 5500-150E v 5.12
Strengths: Easy to manage, mostly configured out of the box, updates event displays in near real time
Weaknesses: Slightly high price for the feature set
Verdict: A solid product with all the features you need. Our Best Buy for its features, ease of use and performance
Good protection features make the Top Layer IPS 5500 stand out. Offering what the vendor calls three-dimensional protection, the device uses the IPS to shield against malicious content, a firewall that uses stateful packet filtering, and protection from denial of service and other rate-based attacks. This product is capable of handling a wide range of threats and attacks including worms, viruses, spyware, P2P applications, file-based remote exploits, Trojans, distributed denial-of-service attacks, and exploits of Microsoft vulnerabilities.
We found this product simple to use. Deployment takes just a few minutes, and the device is almost completely set up out of the box. The Java-based web GUI is clean and well-organised, with an intuitive navigation structure. Setting policy is simple as well, the appliance was up and running after just a few quick clicks of the mouse.
This solution performed very well throughout our testing. We found that the simplicity of setting the policy and configuring the rule set really helped in keeping the protected devices safe. Once we set the policy, this box kept all attacks from getting through.
This product comes with excellent documentation. The quick-start card promises "IPS protection in less than 30 minutes" and we found this to be exactly the case. The steps are well organised and the setup procedure is easy to follow. A configuration and management guide gives considerable detail on tweaking settings, advanced configuration and setting up logging and reporting. This well-written manual is easy to read and contains many screenshots and topology diagrams.
Top Layer has a few support resources on its website, including an FAQ section, white papers and case studies, but most of the support is offered on a contract basis. The contracted assistance includes many features, the most important ones being updates, round-the-clock technical support and a 24/7 emergency phone line.
At a price of just under £20,000, this product sits on the higher end of the scale for IPS. However, this device, or several boxes, can also be used with the Top Layer SecureCommand Center, which can manage many other security devices all in one place with the Top Layer Network Security Analyzer. This device provides a lot of protection and flexibility for a good price.