M86 SWG 3000 v10

The latest SWG appliances from M86 Security takes a highly proactive stance tackling new web threats. Read this exclusive review of the SWG 3000 to see if its patented behavioural blocking technology provides the perfect security umbrella or not.

We were surprised to discover that HTTPS scanning is still an optional extra. Many vendors now consider this a necessity, and not a luxury, and include it as standard. Web caching is another option and we would suggest adding this before deployment. Costing 718, the kit comprises an extra 250GB hard disk - the appliance will need to be powered down to fit it.

Deployment in the lab was swift as the appliance defaults to an explicit proxy so we just needed to configure our Windows clients to use it. We did this manually but you can easily automate it with group policies or PAC scripts.

The web interface sees some graphical refreshment, but we've always found it well designed and easy to use anyway. The appliance uses policies to manage security and these comprise sets of rules each containing conditions and actions.

You get three default policies, so the appliance can start filtering traffic straight away for all users. These contain over forty rules apiece and include options for anti-virus scanning, URL filtering, file blocking and handling malicious code.

To create new policies you clone existing ones and modify them to suit by removing rules you don't need, adding new ones and re-ordering their priority. Although it works well enough, this seems a little clunky to us. The X-ray option is very useful for testing as it can be applied to an entire policy or individual rules so they only log what actions they would have taken.

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.