Adding It All Up

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2008-09-08 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

With the ZyWall USG100 Unified Threat Management appliance, Zyxel dares to go beyond the firewall concept and tread where Symantec, Sonicwall, Fortinet and WatchGuard reign supreme.

Once the device is fully configured, administrators can turn to the browser-based status screen to keep an eye on things. The status screen supports drilling down into individual management objects and can launch reports and process notifications via e-mail or other methods. Solution providers can remotely monitor and manage the device, perhaps rolling the product into an SLA (service-level agreement) or managed services offering. Either way, the USG100 offers plenty of administrative capabilities to make it easy to manage and monitor.

Extensive logging delivers management reports that can be used for technical as well as administrative and management information. Administrators can generate reports showing traffic, blocked sites, VPN usage and so on, allowing them to quickly demonstrate ROI of the device and associated services.

For end users, the implementation of the device is seamless. All the typical desktop user will notice is a lack of virus infections, a reduction in spam and an increase in WAN reliability. What's more, the content filtering engine can be set up to offer "nonjudgmental" warnings about accessing unapproved sites and can have a positive spin based upon protecting the user from dangerous content.

Administrators will appreciate how straightforward the setup of rules, policies and filtering is. That ease of use also applies to traffic management, where definitions can be quickly done to maximize VOIP (or other) traffic to prevent lost packets or slow performance for mission-critical applications. That "traffic shaping" can be based upon user, destination or type of traffic encountered, a truly flexible way of handling something as critical as network traffic. Using Zyxel's Application Patrol configuration allows traffic shaping to be driven by specific applications, allowing administrators to further fine-tune performance for line-of-business applications.

The product's implementation of dual virus scanners helps administrators take a layered approach to protecting users and the network from malware. Zyxel's own anti-virus engine helps to keep things safe at the edge of the network, while the bundled Kaspersky Lab anti-virus engine serves as a catchall for anything that may get past the edge and attempt to infect endpoints inside the network.

All things considered, Zyxel offers an excellent alternative to the mainstream products on the market for protecting the small business network or branch office from the ills of the Internet. The USG100 proves to be affordable, reliable and easy to use and would be a welcome addition to any small network seeking enterprise-level protection. The company's commitment to the channel ensures that plenty of qualified dealers and installers are available and that the product should be easy to purchase and deploy for end users.

 
 
 
 
Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com
 
 
 
 
 
























 
 
 
 
 
 

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