Readers' Choice Awards '08: IT Security Products of the Year


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Unified threat management appliances


Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances

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Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems' ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliance received the gold medal from readers for its breadth of security features that include a firewall, SSL and IPsec VPNs, intrusion prevention, voice and video security and content security.

The 5500 series of appliances supports SMB deployments (150 Mbps firewall throughput, 10,000 maximum firewall connections, 10 site-to-site and remote access VPN sessions and 256 MB of memory) to large data center implementations (10 Gbps firewall throughput, 2 million maximum firewall connections, 10,000 site-to-site and remote access VPN sessions and 12 GB of memory).

Firewall protection features identity-based access control and denial-of-service attack protection. Content management features include URL filtering, antiphishing, antispam, antivirus, antispyware and content filtering. The unified communications protection can inspect and apply policy to popular voice protocols such as SIP, H.323, MGCP and SCCP.

NOTABLE The ASA 5580 data center appliance, released in January 2007, is the most recent update to the line, and features Cisco's NetFlow v9 technology.



Readers liked SonicWALL PRO for its ease of installation and depth of optional security applications, earning it a silver medal.

SonicWALL's network security appliances conduct deep packet inspection and provide real-time gateway capabilities for protection from viruses, spyware, spam, Trojans and phishing attacks.

The application control features give an administrator the ability to stop the use of peer-to-peer and instant messaging applications. The appliance also addresses security for VoIP communications, supporting SIP proxies, H.323 gatekeepers and call servers.

The appliances use multiple cores to increase performance when conducting inspections.

SonicWALL also offers several ways to deploy the appliances based on the organization's preferences, with each configuration having a different impact on performance.

Desktop and server protection features address security by adding antivirus and antispyware protection for workstations and servers. The software will restrict Internet access on endpoints that do not have the latest signature or updates.

NOTABLE All SonicWALL PRO models include stateful packet inspection firewalls and unlimited file size protection.

This was first published in April 2008

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