M86 Security Secure Web Gateway 5000 review

The Secure Web Gateway 5000 delivers a unique range of web security measures with real-time content inspection amongst its defences. In this exclusive review we find out just how tough it is.

There were some issues with the data leakage prevention feature. We tested using two different web mail accounts and found the appliance blocked any Word, Excel or PDF attachments that contained the banned words we had specified.

However, it was unable to deal with text files that had banned words in as it let them all through. We also had problems with FTP transfers as the appliance was unable to handle the login phase and blocked us from our external test sites.

We discussed this with M86 and it transpired that the appliance defaults to converting active FTP sessions to passive. With this setting modified we could then access our test sites. Based on our findings, M86 support put in a change request to its developers.

Logging features are detailed as the appliance maintains a database storing details of detected threats plus system and auditing activity. Reports can't be created or customised but there's a very good selection of predefined reports and their output can be exported to PDF, Excel or HTML formats.

The Secure Web Gateway 5000 offers one of the toughest stances against web threats with a unique range of features. The data leakage prevention needs perfecting but apart from that the SWG 5000 performed well during testing and is clearly capable of delivering network security that has strength in depth.

NB: Price: Appliance, 4,792; 1yr SWG license for 1,000 users, 7,800 (all ex VAT)


M86’s active real-time content inspection makes the SWG 5000 quite unique and allows it to offer very strong defences against the latest web threats. The combination of policies and rules are very versatile and cover a huge range of web threats although the new data leakage prevention feature isn’t perfect.

Chassis: 1U IBM x3550 M2 rack CPU: 2 x 2.13GHz Xeon E5506 Memory: 4GB DDR3 Storage: 2 x 146GB IBM 6Gb/sec SAS hard disks in hot-swap carriers RAID: IBM ServeRAID (drives in RAID-1 mirror). Network: 4 x Gigabit Ethernet Management: Web browser Options: 1000 users: Websense - 1yr, £6,920; Kaspersky – 1yr, £4,120, caching kit, £1,474 (all ex VAT)

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.