March 25, 2005

SmoothWall Launches Its First Firewall Aimed At Large Enterprises

James Delves writes "New Advanced Firewall provides user-authenticated control of up to 2,000 users

Network security specialist SmoothWall Limited, is today previewing its new Advanced Firewall, aimed at enterprise customers and organisations with demanding security requirements. Like its existing Corporate firewall for medium sized organisations, Advanced Firewall is based on open source technology, enabling SmoothWall to provide sophisticated enterprise class features at prices starting from £950.

There are two key technologies that underpin Advanced Firewall; user authentication and the segregation of networks into multiple physically independent zones. Running on modern high performance PC hardware, Advanced Firewall supports up to 20 Gigabit interfaces that can be allocated to any combination of external or internal networks. Instead of having a single internal local protected network, Advanced Firewall allows the network to be segregated by location, department and server groups, or however is appropriate to the organisation. These independent network zones are, by default, isolated and protected from one another, both to prevent unauthorised access and to inhibit the spread of malware such as viruses, worms and Trojans.

Unlike most firewalls which apply rules based solely on IP addresses, SmoothWall Advanced Firewall can apply user specific rules, based on authenticating users against a Microsoft Active Directory or other LDAP system. Integration with the organisation's primary authentication system avoids the need to store and replicate user credentials on the firewall, saves time and effort and allows all routine user administration to be performed on the Active Directory system. With user authentication, Advanced Firewall can control on a per user group basis:

  • Access to services on specific network or applications servers
  • Use of Internet services such as Instant Messaging and external email servers
  • VPN user access to internal network servers and services
  • Browsing of objectionable and time wasting web sites
  • Download of files and executable programs from the web

Advanced Firewall's VPN Gateway supports both site-to-site VPNs and remote Road Warrior users with laptop PCs, using either the L2TP VPN client included in Microsoft Windows, or an IPSec VPN client. The Microsoft L2TP VPN client can also be used to provide a secure encrypted connection between a local network PC and Advanced Firewall, either for secure wireless connections or for the transmission of sensitive information over a wired network.

In conjunction with its SmoothGuardian web content filtering module, Advanced Firewall can be used to restrict unauthenticated or guest users to a captive portal of web sites and services. Also new for Advanced Firewall, SmoothGuardian incorporates technology to detect and remove malicious code such as scripts, Java and Active-X controls from HTML web pages. To protect organisations against the risk of the illegal download of copyright music and video, Advanced Firewall includes technology to detect and block peer-to-Peer (P2P) network traffic such as KaZaA, eMule and BitTorrent.

"The launch of Advanced Firewall reflects SmoothWall's aim to provide feature-rich, high-spec network security products at value for money prices, without compromising functionality or security," commented George Lungley, managing director of SmoothWall. "In keeping with our existing Corporate firewall, 'ease of use' was an important goal in the design of Advanced Firewall, for we believe that if configuration and management is unnecessarily complicated then systems are liable to be misconfigured and security compromised. I am glad to say that with Advanced Firewall we met our goal of providing sophisticated features in a product that is quick to install and intuitive to configure".

Advanced Firewall runs on standard PC server hardware, supporting multi-processor systems, RAID and redundant power supplies for system resilience. External traffic can be split between multiple network connections, by protocol or by originating IP/network address, with automatic fail-over to the next interface in a cascade fail-over path in the event of connection failure.

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About SmoothWall Limited

SmoothWall Ltd. is an internet security software provider founded in 2001 to address the void in the security market between simple feature and user limited "black boxes" and "big iron" solutions from the major security vendors. With its specialist development team, SmoothWall has harnessed the technical expertise of the Open Source arena to develop a suite of firewall, virtual private network (VPN) and content filtering security solutions for education, SME and large corporate organisations.

Based in the United Kingdom, with offices in Leeds and Southampton, SmoothWall delivers global security solutions through a worldwide support network, with representation in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, South Africa, India, Malaysia, Australia, Germany and across Europe. With a user base spanning home users, small business and non-profit organisations through schools and universities to major corporations, over half a million networks rely upon SmoothWall protection. For more information visit:"

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