written by: Lee Clemmer•edited by: Bill Bunter•updated: 5/5/2010
I have reviewed Agnitum Outpost Network Security Suite. Agnitum positions Outpost Network Security Suite as "ensuring...reliable endpoint protection and performance of the corporate network." Does it live up to the claim? Read this detailed Outpost Network Security review to find out.
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Highlights of Outpost Network Security
Agnitum positions Outpost Network Security as "ensuring a reliable endpoint protection and performance of the corporate network". I see Outpost Network Security's best feature as its price. Other than built-in or open source solutions, this is the lowest cost per enforcement point I believe I've seen.
One of the most interesting features for me was a link to an online directory of common firewall rules, called ImproveNet. According to Agnitum, "ImproveNet serves to collect, approve, and redistribute commonly used rules among Outpost users." While it's clear that this would save some time in building a rule set, I can't see many experienced firewall administrators needing or wanting this feature.
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For a software security product including anti-virus & malware protection, firewall, and intrusion detection, pricing is where Outpost Network Security really shines. Commercial licenses range from 10 user, with 1 year of updates & support for $224.00 ($22.40 per license), to 50 users with 1 year updates & support for $840.00 ($16.80 per license). This is one of the most inexpensive commercial security product licenses in this product category. In my experience only free, open-source, or built-in/included security solutions can compete in the same price range! Price shouldn't be the most important factor, in my opinion, but could definitely make the difference for a budget-constrained business.
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Features present are those expected and required for an SMB network security offering. Agnitum describes their firewall as "encompassing a unique intrusion detection system", with "packet- and application-level filtering", and "embedded code protection". How the IDS is "unique" isn't clear to me, and an in-depth examination is definitely beyond the scope of this review. All modern firewalls are expected to have protocol, packet, and application layer filtering, and Outpost does provide this.
Using "USB access lockdown to guard company's digital assets" will surely depend on your business information security policy, and practically upon the needs of the business for users to frequently use USB for data transfer and storage.
Automatic "hands-free updates" are noted in the feature list, and it does appear that Outpost can make updating your enforcement points an easier task with this feature.
Their noted "Safe data repository" feature didn't stand out with me as something I wanted or needed with this type of product, but it's definitely a differentiating feature.
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Installation and Use
The install was as easy as you could hope for. The management console likewise was intuitive, well designed and provided a clean top-level view of important security metrics. There are simple interface options for remote deployment to systems, remote malware scans, and access to protected computers.
Configuration changes of rules for protected computers operated much like other software firewall solutions in my experience. As I mentioned earlier, one of the product's differentiating features is their online ImproveNet directory of rules collected from users, redistributed for use as needed to product users to speed-up deployment.
I did not have a chance to performance test the product with a full penetration or denial-of-service test, nor did I have opportunity to test the AV and malware filtering. I would hazard a guess that the product is comparable with current software solutions for performance and efficacy in these areas. Dedicated hardware firewalls will always excel in the performance arena, but of course with an orders-of-magnitude higher price tag!
Uninstalling the product was also very quick and painless, leaving the test system in exactly the state it was in prior to the installation.
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Overall, I found Outpost Network Security to be easy to use, with a respectable feature set. However, other than the product's very competitive pricing, I don't feel that there is much that sets it apart from the crowd. If you have a limited budget this may be exactly what you're looking for. Agnitum is very active product developer, so we may see impressive improvements as the product matures.