Inside the ProSecure STM 150By Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-02-16 Email Print
The ProSecure series of Security Threat Management appliances offers e-mail and Web threat management for small businesses with enterprise security needs by combining SAAS security with on-site hardware.
The STM 150 has a street price of around $1,000 and the included security services are licensed for the device and not by the number of seats needed. That helps to keep costs manageable and eliminates the nickel-and-dime pricing that has become so common with security software, products and services.
The device is a 1U unit that features five 10/100 Ethernet ports, four of which are designated for the local LAN and one for the firewall connection. The idea is to place the device between the firewall and the local LAN, which offers layered protection. The device combines a hosted security service with local malware processing. The STM 150 uses Netgear’s proprietary Stream Scanning architecture, which allows parallel processing by the various security engines in use to reduce latency and maximize throughput.
The anti-malware engine uses technology from Kaspersky Lab, while the e-mail scanning engine uses technology from Commtouch. Both engines employ heuristics to delve deeper into the data and identify malicious code, corrupted links and the like. The use of heuristics helps the product to block "unknown" threats, threats that have not yet been identified and do not have a "signature" associated with them.
Netgear applies the same logic to URL filtering, which is also handled in the cloud. The unit can filter URLs based upon 64 categories. The URL filtering technology extends to also block other Web services, such as instant messaging, Flash, ActiveX and Web-based tool bars.
While the features and capabilities of STM 150 make it seem complicated, administrators will be surprised at how easy it is to deploy and set up the unit. A basic configuration can be done in less than 10 minutes and requires little more than plugging the unit in and running a setup wizard.
Administrators will find the browser-based management console easy to use. Its menus are well-defined and use simple check boxes to enable features. What’s more, context-sensitive help offers good descriptions and examples for deployment.
While the STM 150 offers a good feature mix, there are some absent capabilities–such as quarantine, Active Directory integration and P2P application controls. Solution providers in need of those capabilities will have to wait until later this year, when Netgear plans to update the software package.
With the STM series, Netgear has demonstrated that it can play with the big boys in the SMB security appliance market. Although the device is far from perfect, it offers an excellent feature mix at a price that is very affordable to even the smallest of businesses. The simplified licensing and management make the product a natural for solution providers servicing accounts with less than 300 users, while the integration of hosted security services keeps the device up-to-date with little fuss or muss.
Netgear is selling the ProSecure exclusively through channel partners. It has no plans to sell the devices through the retail channels.