GateProtect GPA 400 review

Price when reviewed

Based in Germany, GateProtect wants a piece of the UK network security market and makes its play with an impressive range of UTM appliances. In this exclusive review we look at the GPA 400, which targets business with up to 250 users.

GateProtect GPA 400 review

If you’re wondering what makes the GPA appliances special, it’s their ergonomic operability. GateProtect claims to be the only company in the world to adhere fully to the ISO 9241 standard with its software. The GPA 400 is accessed using the eGUI utility, which is designed to reduce management overheads, save on operating costs by simplifying tasks and cut the risk of incorrect configurations.

The GPA appliances bring together a fine array of features. Along with a standard SPI firewall, there are SSO, IPsec and SSL VPNs, IDS and traffic shaping, plus optional Commtouch anti-spam, Kaspersky antivirus and Cobion web content filtering. This 2U box offers an embedded Gigabit port and five more network cards are included, which can act as LAN, WAN or DMZ ports.

So is the eGUI all it’s made out to be? It certainly got things off to a flying start as it auto-discovers GPA appliances and offers a quick start wizard to get the firewall and internet access sorted. The main console opens with a slick desktop showing each port, along with link lines and connection points for each one.

Setting up zone security policies is easy: just double-click on the connector linking the two network segments between which you want to implement security, and a dialog box pops up, providing clear graphics for each service.

It’s also easy to modify rules. If, for example, you want to block a service between two segments, you click on the traffic direction icon until you get a red no-entry sign. You also get a brief but clear explanation stating what each action does. Even smarter is the pane to the left that shows all available services; clicking on one of these reveals which connection it’s active on.

The appliance uses HTTP and HTTPS proxies to handle web traffic, and these can run in transparent or intransparent modes. The latter can enforce authentication before users can access the internet. For web filtering you can either use the Cobion remote database or download it to the appliance for faster performance. This is also configured from the connector dialog boxes, so you can easily apply different policies to each segment.

In practice, the web filtering worked extremely well. Of the 50 online bingo sites visited, we were blocked from all but one. The anti-spam also worked well during testing; leaving the appliance scanning live email for a week returned a 100% success rate with only three false positives.

GateProtect is currently working on a UK reseller programme, and based on what we’ve seen during our tests its GPA appliances look worthy alternatives to the mainstream products. The GPA 400 offers an impressive range of standard and optional security features, delivers tough anti-spam measures and its eGUI utility makes light work of configuration.

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