By Andrew Garcia  |  Posted 2006-02-06 Print this article Print

McAfees Secure Web Gateway 3300 provided the most comprehensive protection and most flexible management and reporting options of the three gateway anti-spyware products eWEEK Labs reviewed. But these niceties will come at a steep cost.

We reviewed McAfees lower-end appliance—the SWG 3300—which includes dual Intel Xeon 2.8GHz processors, 4GB of RAM, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and redundant power supplies. The next model up, the SWG 3400, is essentially the same hardware plus an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) accelerator for faster performance.

We were disappointed that the SWG 3300 did not offer hardware bypass in case of failure (as the Mi5 appliance does), but McAfee does offer options for clustering multiple SWG appliances for high availability and increased throughput—something neither of the other products we reviewed currently offers.

The SWG 3300s price dwarfs that of the competitors. The hardware alone costs $12,995 (albeit for much more horsepower than the other products we reviewed offer); a perpetual anti-virus/anti-spyware license for 1,000 clients costs $10,090. The optional Web filtering module costs an additional $13,250 per year for 1,000 clients.

We installed the SWG 3300 in transparent bridging mode behind our firewall. The appliance may also be configured as a router or in proxy mode, the latter using ICAP (Internet Content Adaptation Protocol) to tie the appliance in with existing proxy servers.

The SWG 3300 easily surpassed the other products in our detection tests, identifying every previously infected host on the network plus every attempted malware download, except the New.net layered service provider.

The SWG 3300 also performed admirably on download attempts from an unknown Web server and threats downloaded via FTP.

Administrators can choose to manage the appliance either through the embedded Web interface or by using McAfees ePolicy Orchestrator, depending on the number of appliances or McAfee software installations that need to be managed. The SWG 3300 provides a wide range of policy configuration options—more than we saw in the other products we tested.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

Andrew cut his teeth as a systems administrator at the University of California, learning the ins and outs of server migration, Windows desktop management, Unix and Novell administration. After a tour of duty as a team leader for PC Magazine's Labs, Andrew turned to system integration - providing network, server, and desktop consulting services for small businesses throughout the Bay Area. With eWEEK Labs since 2003, Andrew concentrates on wireless networking technologies while moonlighting with Microsoft Windows, mobile devices and management, and unified communications. He produces product reviews, technology analysis and opinion pieces for eWEEK.com, eWEEK magazine, and the Labs' Release Notes blog. Follow Andrew on Twitter at andrewrgarcia, or reach him by email at agarcia@eweek.com.

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