Review: Secure Computing Corporation Sidewinder 7.0

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Review: Secure Computing Corporation Sidewinder 7.0

The device from Secure Computing is an appliance-based offering that runs on a 1U rack mounted device. The Sidewinder provides two Ethernet interfaces, which can be separately addressed and configured.

The Sidewinder is primarily a proxy-based firewall, with options to perform stateful inspection of protocols as a secondary configuration. The Sidewinder provides many types of protection by utilising both major firewall types. The firewall provides a logging and reporting mechanism, which allows for the admin to see the results of traffic passed through the firewall.

The installation of the Sidewinder is a complex process befitting most enterprise-class firewalls. The initial configuration takes place through a serial connection and a hyperterm session followed by a proprietary configuration utility.

Once the initial configuration is complete, additional configuration takes place using a network interface and a proprietary application for the Sidewinder. As opposed to other devices in this category, the installation and configuration was quite complex and took more than an hour to configure while other devices just took a matter of minutes. The installation of the management client alone took more than 20 minutes.

The Sidewinder 7.0 device ships with a hard copy getting started guide, which walks the administrator through the initial configuration and administration of the Sidewinder device. Additional documentation is available on the printed administration guide, an 800-page book that covers the entire breadth of the Sidewinder in depth.

Support is available at an additional charge. For 24/7 support the annual fee is 21 percent of the purchase price of the device. The Secure Computing website has a password-protected knowledge base, which is available to current users. Three years of hardware support is included with the purchase price of the device.

The pricing for the Sidewinder begins at US$1,500 and tops out at US$75,900, which means the Sidewinder can be priced anywhere in the price spectrum.

For: The largest number of features of the devices tested
Against: Difficult to configure and administrate
Verdict: A complete enterprise firewall loaded with more features than most organisations will ever need

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