The Best Products Of 2010


Security Appliance: Watchguard XCS 370

We continue to hear compelling arguments from both sides as to whether better security solutions can be delivered through hardware-based appliances, or whether all thats needed is software and servers already located in an organizations data center.

Of late, weve seen software-only solutions make very strong strides. But where security appliance companies can provide significant value to protect an organization, we still have room to be impressed. Watchguard has done so. Earlier this year, the CRN Test Center received for review a pair of XCS 370s, the middle product in WatchGuards three-piece XCS lineup for the SMB. The XCS 370 lists for $5,500 and is designed to handle up to 500 users; the XCS 170 ($2,475) and XCS 570 ($8,500) have a respective rated capacity of 250 users and 1,000 users. Ongoing support costs $1,200 per year. There are no per-user fees, and all include access to the companys ReputationAuthority, a cloud-based filtering system that eliminates as much as 98 percent of unwanted e-mail, according to claims. ReputationAuthority uses a combination of DNS blacklisting, analysis of IP traffic volume and behavior, and content inspection to do its job. And it does so before the content ever hits user networks. It also serves to alert deployed boxes of new threats in realtime.

The price, performance and power of the XCS 370 is significant enough to win our thumbs-up as 2010s best product in the segment of security appliances.