WatchGuard XTM 23-W review

We’ve often criticised WatchGuard for being too complex to manage. With the launch of the XTM 2 series of security appliances, the company tells us this flaw has been fixed. Read this exclusive review of the new XTM 23-W to find out if it has succeeded.

Price
£999

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.

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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.

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