F5 Networks' FirePass 4140

Best suited to provide easy access to trusted employees.

Summary of Clear Choice Test of F5 Networks' FirePass 4140.

Data sheet for F5 Networks' FirePass 4140
Starting price: $24,990 
Overall score: 4.0

With its acquisition of uRoam in July 2003, F5 jumped into the SSL VPN market with both feet. Since then, the product has always been colored by uRoam's original interest: easy remote access. Competing against security-oriented companies such as Cisco, Check Point and Juniper, the F5 team has focused more on accessibility and easy access than tight controls.

The FirePass 4140 is all about giving access. It's not about fine-grained access controls. This makes it perfect for many environments, especially remote-access ones where end users are fully or partially trusted (such as employee remote access). However, the FirePass doesn't fit well where a lot of very tight controls on access are needed (see policy testing results).

F5's remote access and accessibility orientation are clear throughout FirePass. F5 was the first to pay attention to the appearance and function of the end-user Web portal (see portal testing results), a valuable sales tool, as many SSL VPN products treat the Web portal as an afterthought. F5 has also reached out to encourage cross-platform compatibility, with Mac support and special handling for small-screen devices such as PDAs and mobile phones.

The FirePass is designed to ease and simplify the process of providing secure remote access to corporate networks. F5's end point security policy creation GUI is a perfect example: easy to use, fairly powerful and visually yards ahead of everyone else. Is it the most powerful end-point security system? Not at all. But F5's end-point security is the easiest to use and manage, and that counts for a lot (see results of end-point security tests).

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