Story image

Hands-on review: Dell SonicWall TZ600

16 Aug 16

The SonicWall TZ600 security appliance is designed for medium-sized businesses. It’s ideal for those wanting network security without paying the GDP of Ghana to get it. It offers powerful but flexible security that doesn't need a degree in rocket science. 

In addition to the TZ600's raw horsepower, it brings wireless management to the party.

What’s in the box?

The TZ600 looks like a generic network appliance given its slim-line rectangular box-like shape. It packs ten Gigabit ports for LAN, WAN, DMZ and WLAN connectivity. It can handle up to 70 users thanks to its 1GB of memory and quad-core 1.4GHz MIPS64 Octeon CPU. 

Depending on where you shop, the TZ600 costs around $4,000. That may give some CEOs pause for thought, but it includes the TZ600 and 12 months of Web Filtering, Intrusion Prevention, Gateway Anti-virus, Gateway Anti-malware, Application Control, Support and Maintenance. For an extra $560, TotalSecure Advanced Threat Prevention Service is also available. It also provides application intelligence and control, putting it into the must-buy category.

Bells and Whistles

Not content with providing industrial strength security, the TZ600 also has wireless management capabilities. These can handle up to 24 SonicPoint access points for secure wireless coverage.

For ME’s without dedicated IT people, setting up a security appliance can seem daunting, but deployment with the TZ600 is as simple as plugging everything in as per the quick-start guide and firing up the quick-start wizard. This sets up the first LAN port and a WAN port for Internet access as well as applying security policies. The web admin console uses zoning. This allows selected ports to be in different zones, and individual security policies can be applied to members in each zone.

In practice, this means that it is possible to determine what traffic can pass through each zone. By default, LAN ports are trusted. The WAN port remains untrusted. This means no traffic passes from the WAN to another zone unless permitted by a rule.

New zones automatically get firewall rules set up. In use it manages that oh-so-difficult combination of being both intuitive and powerful at the same time. The TZ600 also has Deep Packet Inspection. This can identify and control applications without any noticeable performance hit.

The TZ600’s App Controls are likely to appeal to most MEs as they’re both intuitive and powerful. I was able to manage a range of application categories including FTP or HTTP requests. I could block access or even just limit bandwidth. There’s also a tonne of more advanced controls which use signatures to identify specific activities.

The TZ600 comes with 1,500 signatures pre-bundled. These allow it to spot Facebook likes, pokes or posts. These can be blocked, logged (or dare I say it, allowed). Signature policies can be applied to groups of users and IP addresses. They can even link to a schedule, allowing staff to use Facebook at lunchtime but not on the company's dime.

Verdict

With ransomware, hacks and other cyber nasties giving businesses unexpected bouts of celebrity media status, not to mention uncontrolled Internet access and its impacts on productivity, there are plenty of reasons to invest in a decent security appliance. The TZ600 mightn’t be cheap, but it is both powerful and intuitive. Then again what price would you put on having good IT security policies in place?

How blockchain will impact NZ’s economy
Distributed ledgers and blockchain are anticipated to provide a positive uplift to New Zealand’s economy.
25% of malicious emails still make it through to recipients
Popular email security programmes may fail to detect as much as 25% of all emails with malicious or dangerous attachments, a study from Mimecast says.
Human value must be put back in marketing - report
“Digital is now so widely adopted that its novelty has worn off. In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives."
Wine firm uses AR to tell its story right on the bottle
A Central Otago wine company is using augmented reality (AR) and a ‘digital first’ strategy to change the way it builds its brand and engages with customers.
DigiCert conquers Google's distrust of Symantec certs
“This could have been an extremely disruptive event to online commerce," comments DigiCert CEO John Merrill. 
Protecting organisations against internal fraud
Most companies tend to take a basic approach that focuses on numbers and compliance, without much room for grey areas or negotiation.
Telesmart to deliver Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams
The integration will allow Telesmart’s Cloud Calling for Microsoft Teams to natively enable external voice connectivity from within Teams collaborative workflow environment.
Jade Software & Ambit take chatbots to next level of AI
“Conversation Agents present a huge opportunity to increase customer and employee engagement in a cost-effective manner."