Managed security services are proving to be an ideal solution for companies that want to offload the daily burden of dealing with network security and fighting off viruses, spam and worms. However, while these services can be a boon to overworked support departments many are too expensive for smaller businesses. The GuardianBox appliances aim to remedy this oversight by providing a wide range of security services but at a price these very same businesses can afford.
Offered by Bridge Broadband Services Ltd in Scotland, the GuardianBox solution comprises a combination of local appliance and hosted services that provide SPI firewalling, two stage email anti-virus scanning, anti-spam defences and web content filtering. In this review we take a look at the entry-level GB 25 model which targets very small companies with up to 25 employees. The appliance is a simple desktop box and inside it you’ll find an ICP EPIA mini-ITX motherboard equipped with a 1GHz VIA C3 processor accompanied by 256MB of memory. The Linux operating system is stored on a 2.5in Western Digital 40GB IDE hard disk. The network connections are handled by a pair of 10/100BaseTX Ethernet ports labelled as Green for the LAN side and Red for the WAN side. For installation the appliance must be placed between the LAN and WAN making sure that no other router exists between your users and the Internet. We tested with a simple ActionTec intelligent ADSL modem connected to the Red port. The Green side was linked to a network switch which serviced all our LAN test systems.
The appliance uses a bunch of open source utilities to provide the various functions. For email scanning you have ClamAV and F-Prot, spam is dealt with by SpamAssassin whilst DansGuardian looks after web content filtering. The SPI firewall cannot be switched off by the user and commendably defaults to blocking all unsolicited inbound traffic. Web browser access is provided for administrative access and it’s here that you find how little access the user has to the appliance as the majority of services are configured and updated remotely by Bridge Broadband.
Four options are provided with access to basic setup of the Red interface where you can select DHCP or enter a static IP address. We did suggest to the company that it would be useful to be able to see what IP address had been assigned to this interface for troubleshooting purposes and it agreed to implement this in its next appliance update. For the Green interface you can select an IP address, configure the DHCP server and enter fixed lease addresses.