IT Pro Verdict
Netgear’s STM300 is easy to deploy and scores very well for value as HTTPS scanning comes as standard and there are no user limitations. Anti-spam and web filtering performance are both tops and Active Directory support means policies can now be customised for different users and groups.
Netgear's latest STM security appliances - the result of its acquisition of Chinese company CP Secure in 2008 - move it firmly into the web and message content security market. The family consists of three appliances with the STM300 in this exclusive review targeting mid-sized businesses with up to 300 concurrent users.
Netgear did actually launch these appliances a few months ago but at the time a number of important features had yet to be implemented. This has now been remedied so the STM300 includes the missing quarantining, IM and P2P app controls and support for Active Directory.
Few in the UK will have heard of CP Secure, but rest assured the STM300 offers a powerful partnership of security measures. Kaspersky looks after anti-virus and anti-malware scanning whilst Commtouch's RPD (recurrent pattern detection) and GlobalView services handle anti-spam and URL filtering.
The main contribution from CP Secure is its stream scanning technology. This uses a multithreaded approach which starts scanning and analysing traffic as it enters the network. Instead of waiting for a complete file to be received it scans bytes as they arrive and uses another thread to deliver them effectively providing near real-time scanning.
The STM300 is a 1U rack mount appliance offering a triplet of Gigabit ports with one for dedicated management access. The other two incorporate a hardware bypass circuit so if the appliance fails it won't take your internet connection with it.
Installation is swift as all STM appliances function as transparent gateways. For testing we just dropped the STM300 in between our LAN and main firewall without having to reconfigure our test clients. However, it would add value if Netgear implemented the SPI firewall included in its UTM appliances as smaller businesses could then use one appliance for all their gateway security needs.
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.