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Internet Related/Filtering/Firewall Thread, Lightspeed vs Smoothwall in Technical; Originally Posted by Jollity Is your memory that Smoothwall's categorisation was noticeably better? That's my memory, yes, although of course ...
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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jollity View Post
    Is your memory that Smoothwall's categorisation was noticeably better?
    That's my memory, yes, although of course that was a couple of years ago now in a different school. "Seemed better" could simply equate to "our users just didn't happen to run into as many problems / simply didn't use the Internet as much / just sighed and worked around the problem instead of actually telling me", but the Chinese language sites thing sticks out in my memory as something that Lightspeed seems bad at right at the moment. Both places, though, are private schools, with well-supervised classes and, importantly, no teenage boys. I imagine most web filtering products are built around the idea of stopping your average 15-year-old searching for pictures of naked women, and erring on the side of caution when catagorising sites as "adult" is probably understandable.

    If the cost were the same, which would you go for?
    Based on experience so far, I'd probably go for SmoothWall, although I see advantages in the way Lightspeed's system works. I'd be interested to know if you're planning a home-based hardware device we can sell on to parents. We get parents asking how they can implement web filtering at home, and I'd love to be able to tell them to simply plug a box in that would sync settings with the school system.

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    Jollity (18th February 2013)

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    rpmoore's Avatar
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    This is an interesting thread, and as the established web filtering market leader in UK education and LA markets it is my job to make sure Smoothwall exceeds our customer expectation from a product and service perspective. I have discussed the points raised in this threat regarding support reactiveness with our COO, who replies below. Both of us are contactable personally should you need to get in touch - we always welcome constructive feedback good or bad.

    I'm always seeking to improve the quality and responsiveness of our Support to Customers and provide value for money to them, so it's a direct concern to me that some forum members are posting issues here about Smoothwall's support whilst others have enjoyed the level of service that they, and I, expect. It's well known that we have grown very significantly but that cannot become a reason why we falter in providing services to some customers. Empirically and anecdotally from your posts, support turnaround times are, on occasion, erratic so we are working continually to improve:-

    • we are investing in additional Support staff and training, more will be in post by the end of March,
    • some of you will be aware that our knowledge base has been completely re-written over recent months and is available via Smoothwall's Support portal to enable fast responses on known issues and FAQs,
    • in response to customer input, new advisory services and enhanced training services are now launched
    • all of our service agreements have been re-written and enhanced to provide more flexibility, choice and value for money for our Customers for the full life of your Smoothwall solution.

    There's more to come but, in the immediate short term, my focus is to ensure that we deliver excellent service to all of our Customers.
    Gary Pearson - Chief Operating Officer, Smoothwall.

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    Whilst this is a discussion regarding Lightspeed and Smoothwall primarily, what do people feel about the Smoothwall firewall side of things? We've been trialling a sonicwall box for a few days, just wondered what people think of the Smoothwall side of it though

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    Jollity (19th February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    Whilst this is a discussion regarding Lightspeed and Smoothwall primarily, what do people feel about the Smoothwall firewall side of things? We've been trialling a sonicwall box for a few days, just wondered what people think of the Smoothwall side of it though
    It does the job and fairly straight forward to configure. If you are looking at appliances tho also check out watchguards.

    Depending on your setup you could also look at virtual firewall appliances.

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    RTFM (19th February 2013)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    Whilst this is a discussion regarding Lightspeed and Smoothwall primarily, what do people feel about the Smoothwall firewall side of things? We've been trialling a sonicwall box for a few days, just wondered what people think of the Smoothwall side of it though
    Hi RTFM - I personally think that it currently compares well to mid market solutions such as SonicWALL, and we sell a lot of our UTM product, combining firewall with Guardian. However, we are currently redeveloping the firewall to include full Layer 7 analysis. Ultimately we will be able to identify and manage 000's of applications in a very granular manner - making us more comparable to the like of Palo Alto. This will launch in a couple of months.

    While some other vendors are adding complimentary products (i.e. MDM, Desktop AV) to their core offerings, we believe in sticking to providing a great firewall with the best filtering on the market.

    (If anyone wants further info on the new functionality please IM me)

    Richard

  10. 4 Thanks to rpmoore:

    john (19th February 2013), Jollity (19th February 2013), RTFM (19th February 2013), zag (26th February 2013)

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    Sonicwall has full layer 7 application management currently and have for a while from the looks of it as its well integrated into their product.

    Are SonicWall and Smoothwall both considered a mid market firewall solution? It seems to have much greater functionality and reporting than the Smoothwall offering?
    Last edited by RTFM; 19th February 2013 at 08:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpmoore View Post
    Hi RTFM - I personally think that it currently compares well to mid market solutions such as SonicWALL, and we sell a lot of our UTM product, combining firewall with Guardian. However, we are currently redeveloping the firewall to include full Layer 7 analysis. Ultimately we will be able to identify and manage 000's of applications in a very granular manner - making us more comparable to the like of Palo Alto. This will launch in a couple of months.

    While some other vendors are adding complimentary products (i.e. MDM, Desktop AV) to their core offerings, we believe in sticking to providing a great firewall with the best filtering on the market.

    (If anyone wants further info on the new functionality please IM me)

    Richard
    Be interesting to see how the new firewall components performing . Being a Smoothwall filtering customer that's just purchased a new Palo Alto firewall I'm not sure I could live without that Layer 7 application filtering/user identification any more. Having demoed lots of other products nothing came close to how PA had implemented it so I'd be very interested to try out the new Smoothwall firewall .

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    mrbios's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, I'm in the process of looking at both smoothwall and lightspeed as well as bloxx (which haven't been mentioned in here?) all 3 of which are coming in next month to present both a non-technical and technical presentation. Looking forward to seeing all 3 Any comparisons anyone can make with bloxx while we're here?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Interesting thread, I'm in the process of looking at both smoothwall and lightspeed as well as bloxx (which haven't been mentioned in here?) all 3 of which are coming in next month to present both a non-technical and technical presentation. Looking forward to seeing all 3 Any comparisons anyone can make with bloxx while we're here?
    I'd probably be a bit biased to comment

    Seeing you are a Leeds fan however is interesting, as our offices are in the shadow of the great Elland Road and we are all regulars - compared to those other vendors from different countries, one of which isn't even sure what football is....!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpmoore View Post
    I'd probably be a bit biased to comment

    Seeing you are a Leeds fan however is interesting, as our offices are in the shadow of the great Elland Road and we are all regulars - compared to those other vendors from different countries, one of which isn't even sure what football is....!
    I like to think, in my own little world, that you purposely give man utd fans bad service, just because they all deserve it (you lot getting slow response times aren't mancs are you? haha)

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    I like to think, in my own little world, that you purposely give man utd fans bad service, just because they all deserve it (you lot getting slow response times aren't mancs are you? haha)
    Given that support is based in Southampton, it's unlikely to be a contributory factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AMLightfoot View Post
    Given that support is based in Southampton, it's unlikely to be a contributory factor.




    EDIT: Can anyone give me any opinions on the smoothwalls email security and anti-spam optional addon?
    Last edited by mrbios; 19th February 2013 at 10:56 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Both places, though, are private schools, with well-supervised classes and, importantly, no teenage boys. I imagine most web filtering products are built around the idea of stopping your average 15-year-old searching for pictures of naked women, and erring on the side of caution when catagorising sites as "adult" is probably understandable.
    I am dealing with a similar scenario. The biggest risk I identify is inappropriate or disturbing google image content, likely reached accidentally.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    I'd be interested to know if you're planning a home-based hardware device we can sell on to parents. We get parents asking how they can implement web filtering at home, and I'd love to be able to tell them to simply plug a box in that would sync settings with the school system.
    Not something I had even considered. Sounds like it would be a great service to be able to offer, though potentially a real can of worms in terms of supporting parents.

    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    Whilst this is a discussion regarding Lightspeed and Smoothwall primarily, what do people feel about the Smoothwall firewall side of things? We've been trialling a sonicwall box for a few days, just wondered what people think of the Smoothwall side of it though
    The firewall is something on my mind as well, so I am interested to hear the suggestions you are getting. We have been managing with just a basic port blocking firewall so far, and do not currently have anything fancy like a VPN. I am trying to decide if we need to have something stateful, IPS etc. A smoothwall with firewall components would be a handy compromise.

    Quote Originally Posted by mrbios View Post
    Interesting thread, I'm in the process of looking at both smoothwall and lightspeed as well as bloxx (which haven't been mentioned in here?) all 3 of which are coming in next month to present both a non-technical and technical presentation. Looking forward to seeing all 3 Any comparisons anyone can make with bloxx while we're here?
    I have been looking at Bloxx as well. They seems pretty good: similar to Smoothwall in using in-line scanning, price, and in most important capabilities (except for Firewall), look easier to set up. However as I have some familiarity with Smoothwall, if we are going for a solution of that class, I am inclined to go for Smoothwall.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jollity View Post
    The firewall is something on my mind as well, so I am interested to hear the suggestions you are getting. We have been managing with just a basic port blocking firewall so far, and do not currently have anything fancy like a VPN. I am trying to decide if we need to have something stateful, IPS etc. A smoothwall with firewall components would be a handy compromise.
    I'd certainly have a trial of a few different Firewalls, I dont personally think Smoothwall is in the same league as Sonicwall from what i've seen of both products. Smoothwall may disagree

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTFM View Post
    I'd certainly have a trial of a few different Firewalls, I dont personally think Smoothwall is in the same league as Sonicwall from what i've seen of both products. Smoothwall may disagree
    The Sonicwall is head and shoulders above the Smoothwall in terms of firewall. The App identification is good and so is the bandwidth management on various subnets / AD user groups etc. The GUI for reporting is much nicer (love the spinning pie chart) you can identify the issues much easier.

    For a basic firewall the smoothwall does the job for doing simple port forwards but if you really want to get a handle on what traffic is coming in and out of your network then the Sonicwall is the first choice. If you have the money Palo Alto is very nice too.

  24. Thanks to ict_support from:

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