Security FeaturesBy Frank Ohlhorst | Print
By combining the best bits of open-source software into a VOIP appliance, Critical Links brings convergence to a new milestone and creates what may be the must-have appliance for most any SMB.
With robust connectivity options and line-of-business applications, extensive security becomes a must-have. Here, yet again, the EdgeBox impresses. The unit includes a full suite of security products, which starts off with a stateful inspection firewall. Solution providers will find complete implementations of VPN for remote user access (L2TP, PPTP), site-to-site (IPSec), anti-spam, anti-virus (based on ClamAV, McAfee and Sophos) and content filtering.
Security is further enhanced by the inclusion of NAC features that control how employees and visitors access the network. Access can be granted or denied per user, service, IP, time of day and source (VPN, LAN, wireless). EdgeBox’s NAC supports authentication through a captive portal, 802.1X, and remotely through RADIUS, LDAP or AD.
Perhaps the only downside to the EdgeBox is business continuity. Simply put, if the device fails, so does all of a business’s most important IT capabilities. Critical Links has thought that scenario through and offers a "virtual EdgeBox" solution. Here, a solution provider can host a virtual copy of the customer’s EdgeBox, which is constantly updated. If the EdgeBox fails, the solution provider can quickly switch the customer over to the virtual implementation until the actual unit is replaced.
Critical Links is currently recruiting new partners and only sells via the channel. EdgeBox starts at $2,500 and increases in price depending on the number of seats needed and EdgePacks ordered. Solution providers can expect healthy margins on the hardware and software, and can garner revenue from the installation and support of the unit. The failover option can add recurring revenue for solution providers hosting virtual EdgeBoxes, while remote management fits keenly into the MSP model.
Solution providers looking to build opportunity in the SMB market will be well-served by the EdgeBox product line.