No matter what the architecture, costs for these appliances can escalate quickly. Although the starting price for the Symantec Gateway 5400 series is about $3,500 for a low-end firewall-only model, beefing up the hardware and layering on additional security services can increase the price to upward of $60,000 for a redundant pair.
While these integrated appliances show promise, eWEEK Labs recommends getting your house in order before purchasing a multifunction appliance. Such an investment crosses into the purview of several IT entities: The network group, the security group and the corporate messaging group all need to be onboard for the implementation.
The multifunction appliance should be deployed in conjunction with some existing services; administrators should continue to maintain their internal anti-virus and network-based intrusion detection/intrusion prevention architectures. However, content and network filtering devices will be replaced outright, which may be a battle if a particular device is already working well.
An interesting compromise to this dilemma is the open-source community. Astaro AG, for example, offers Astaro Security Linux, an inexpensive, preconfigured open-source solution that can be installed on standard hardware without the headaches of trying to harden and tune the operating system.
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Technical Analyst Andrew Garcia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.