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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Filtering options

    So, we've had this come up again here - our filtering is less than ideal (SWGfL Safetynet Plus). Its inflexible and cumbersome to deal with. I'm looking for an alternative - on-site.

    Now, I know most will say "Smoothwall" straight away, but its as simple as this - we can't afford it I'm afraid! Last quote I got for it would have put the cost at just about £10k over 3 years. Which, considering we pay about £500 a year at the moment for our solution, is simply not going to happen.

    Can anyone recommend other products that are not £3k a year?

    We would like:

    1. Some form of hardware device, with potential VM failover if possible.
    2. Filtering lists that are kept up to date.
    3. Active Directory integration
    4. Per user/group policies

    The price I could justify is up to about £3k for a device, and £1k or thereabouts for yearly licensing.

    Our numbers: 100Mbit fibre, 300 client machines, 70% use at any one time.

    What do people think of:

    Sophos and Watchguard? What sort of pricing am I looking at for those now?

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    You might get a Palo Alto PA500 or 2020 in for that if you beat the salesman with a stick?

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    Cache's Avatar
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    Baracuda peeked my interest in December time around the time I was having a lot of issues with Smoothwall support but I ran out of time to investiagte it properly.

    The 1st year cost is still fairly high as you have a hardware purchase, but after that the cost drops considerably (and the hardware is replaced Free of charge after so many years too if I remember correctly).

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    Sylv3r's Avatar
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    Lightspeed is another that may come in cheaper than Smoothwall, from what I have seen in the demos it doesn't look too bad.

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    Sophos web appliance would be a good low cost option, and does pretty much everything smoothwall does, is certainly more user friendly and easy to setup but... does get bogged down when you have lots of bandwidth happy users, support can be a bit naff and in terms of actually blocking uncatagorised sites is not every effective. If you get a hardware appliance you do get a licence for a VM as well for failover if you want this setup.
    Lightspeed wasnt much cheaper than smoothwall web we looked back in Dec.
    Sophos UTM (astaro) looked pretty good but i'm not sure how it would come price wise for you.

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    seawolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    What do people think of:

    Sophos and Watchguard? What sort of pricing am I looking at for those now?
    I would not recommend either of these for filtering. We had mega problems with Sophos in the past and I still hear bad things about these units even today. As for Watchguard, they make a great firewall, but for filtering - not so much.

    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    We would like:

    1. Some form of hardware device, with potential VM failover if possible.
    2. Filtering lists that are kept up to date.
    3. Active Directory integration
    4. Per user/group policies

    The price I could justify is up to about £3k for a device, and £1k or thereabouts for yearly licensing.
    That is a tall order to have a really good web filter that is commercially supported for that low of an ongoing costs. My recommendation for web filtering for the past three years has always been the iBoss. For the number of users that you have, you could purchase an iBoss web filter for under 2k (USD) so that easily meets the upfront cost requirement. However, the ongoing costs are around 3k (USD) for 600 users (they charge based on concurrent users, not devices). The prices are in USD because there isn't an iBoss reseller here in Australia so I have just purchase and licensed it through their HQ in San Diego. Our unit (iBoss 3660) only cost $1,850 USD three years ago. I would wager that you will not find a better solution than the iBoss, at any price.

    Otherwise, if you really have a tight budget, you might consider building your own web filter box on a SuperMicro chassis (or just using a VM) running DansGuardian. It will cost you more time and won't be as good as the iBoss, but if you have more time than money it's an option. I have very little spare time for such things, so the $3,500 I spend each year on the iBoss subscription is a no brainer.

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    glennda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    What do people think of:

    Watchguard
    Agreed very good firewall rubbish filter - wouldn't cut it in education. the filter lists/auth parths etc all have to sit on a seperate server and it isn't suitable for education.

    I have a few clients who use it purely for saying these 10 sites are allowed etc.

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Anyone had a look at the Zyxel USG 2000/1000? Uses Bluecoat and Commtouch for filtering?

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    SWGfL_Official's Avatar
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    Hi,

    You can choose from a range of filter and firewall options from SWGfL including Smoothwall and Lightspeed, please drop us a line sis@swgfl.org.uk or call us on 0845 601 3203 to run through your functionality and budget requirements and we'll do our very best to help you.

    Thanks Julia Adamson
    Education Manager

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWGfL_Official View Post
    Hi,

    You can choose from a range of filter and firewall options from SWGfL including Smoothwall and Lightspeed, please drop us a line sis@swgfl.org.uk or call us on 0845 601 3203 to run through your functionality and budget requirements and we'll do our very best to help you.

    Thanks Julia Adamson
    Education Manager
    That sounds like a great solution - perhaps a bit of a marketing campaign with your schools is in order?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Indeed. The SWGfL is woefully out of date when it comes to the filtering options available.

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    Boredguy's Avatar
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    To be fare to the SWGfL, the filtering options are listed on the ESI site, but other than the initial e-mail regarding the changes when schools were being charged for services directly it's not come up again since.

  13. #13
    Boredguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boredguy View Post
    To be fare to the SWGfL, the filtering options are listed on the ESI site, but other than the initial e-mail regarding the changes when schools were being charged for services directly it's not come up again since.
    Ok, they were listed on the ESI site.... appears they have removed them in the last 12 months, along with the 365 migration option for e-mail.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localzuk View Post
    Anyone had a look at the Zyxel USG 2000/1000? Uses Bluecoat and Commtouch for filtering?
    I've used Zyxel USG 100 for a small installation with Bluecoat and was pretty satisfied with it. The school is moving to 1 to 1 computing now and I am evaluating whether or not the 310 or 1000 will be sufficient for the increased load. We are a small private school with around 160 students K - 8 so we likely have lower bandwidth requirements than many others on here.

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    Hello,

    Lightspeed, Fortinet or a combo of both would do the trick?

    I'll send you a PM.

    Ta

    Dave

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