Billion BiGuard S10 SSL VPN

This is no UTM wonder, but it does SSL VPNing quite well. And it is as cheap

When it comes to security hardware, small businesses are getting a heck of a lot for their money these days, and not just from the established names either. This particular security box of tricks, the BiGuard S10, comes from Billion Electric, based out of Taiwan. Brand name companies be warned - you have some competition here.

Plug in broadband in its single WAN port at one end of the S10, and the network into one or more of its four 10/100 Ethernet ports at the other, and you have an all-in-one security gateway comprising an SSL VPN server, with integrated router and firewalling. Without wanting to blow a good punchline too early, the S10 doesn't stand out for its spec sheet, decent though that is, but more for the AUD$779 street price it is being sold at.

Whether it suits a particular company will depend on the size of network plugging into it, and the degree to which they need remote access. The S10 is rated for 10-50 employees, while a failover version with dual-WAN ports, the S20, claims to be able to juggle up to 200 of the same. The number of concurrent SSL connections - the most important statistic on an SSL box - is quoted as 10, so use this as the measure.

Is that enough? For a small company, the answer is probably "yes", but the chances are that the VPN load will go up over time, so the BiGuard could look a bit silly in short order. If there is any chance of that happening then go for the more featured version, or get a standalone VPN box from someone else.

There is also the question of whether buying a VPN gateway with the firewall and router attached is the right way to go in the first place - today they tend to be separate. There is no definitive answer to this question, but the integration of features into single appliances looks inevitable for small business security because it is the only way capital and management cost can be reduced. In that sense at least, the S10 is ahead of most of its rivals for now.

It'll talk PPoE to the ISP in question, or can be hooked up with a static IP address, depending on the network configuration in question. For simplicity, we tested it on the other side of a separate PPoA router and ADSL access device, with the DHCP client turned on, not the way it would most likely be used.

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