SmoothWall Guardian SWG-1208 review

SmoothWall aims for the enterprise with a content security appliance that packs a mighty punch in the hardware department. We review the Guardian SWG-1208 to see how well it performs.

The SmoothGuardian web filtering service controls web browsing and a valuable feature is the dynamic content analysis (DCA). This works with the URL category database and will inspect all web pages looking for objectionable content and phrases. During testing we found that this frequently blocked access to web sites based purely on page content.

Policies are used to enforce content security and each can contain multiple filters which define what you want to block or allow. Time periods can be applied to each filter to determine when they are active and you can add custom URL categories as well.

We found the SWG-1208 performed extremely well for web content security with it blocking access to all our test online games and gambling websites. In most cases, it even blocked the results of our Google searches as these pushed the phrase weightings over their thresholds.

The scourge of social networking is handled well as the appliance has categories specifically for these sites and had no problem blocking us from the likes of Facebook and Twitter. As policies can contain multiple filters you could, for example, allow access to specific categories during scheduled times. The only thing we would like to see is a categorisation tool to check what a particular URL will be classed as.

Dave Mitchell

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.