IT Pro Verdict
The improved web interface for the XTM 23-W makes it much more appealing to small businesses requiring a single, easily managed UTM security appliance. It’s good value as there are no user restrictions and the new application awareness features provide greater levels of control over social networking plus IM and P2P apps.
The WatchGuard XTM 23-W
The rear of the WatchGuard XTM 23-W
The new web interface opens with a quick start wizard which includes an option to activate all features.
Plenty of detail on subscription status and appliance performance is available.
The various proxies can now all be fully configured from the web interface.
WatchGuard’s new application awareness provides far more control over Facebook activities.
The WebBlocker URL filtering performed very well during testing with very little getting past it.
WatchGuard's XTM security appliances offer an impressive range of features and performance for the price but we've never been keen on managing them. We raised these issues in our exclusive review of the XTM 510 saying that it was too complex for single appliance installations.
Maybe WatchGuard heard us as its latest entry-level XTM 2 series has been designed to be more appealing to smaller businesses. In this exclusive review we look at the XTM 23-W which has a wealth of new features but, more importantly, can now be fully managed and configured directly from its web interface.
Previously, all XTM appliances could only be managed by installing the WatchGuard System Manager (WSM), Firebox Manager and five servers for handling management access, the WebBlocker service, message quarantining, logging and reporting. It works well when you're looking after multiple, distributed appliances but a real pain in the neck for just one box.
The XTM 23-W sits at the top of a range of three desktop appliances and has a throughput of 195Mb/sec for firewall operations and 40Mb/sec for the UTM services. The price we've shown here includes WatchGuard's LiveSecurity updates and Security Bundle subscription for the first year. Renewing LiveSecurity for another year costs around 123 ex VAT.
The LiveSecurity subscription includes support, an advanced hardware replacement warranty and all software updates. The Security Bundle activates all optional services which include anti-spam, anti-virus, URL filtering and intrusion prevention systems (IPS) plus WatchGuard's reputation-enabled defence and application control.
The latter is a new feature across all XTM appliances which makes them application aware. This is designed to provide improved levels of control over IM and P2P usage in the workplace along with social networking activities.
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.