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Check Point looks to bridge small biz security gap

Hitting the SonicWALL barrier

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Check Point Software is going after the SME market with firewall products tailored to the needs of small offices.

The VPN-1/FireWall-1 SmallOffice Next Generation and lower-end Safe@Office/Home Pro products, which are based as the same underlying stateful inspection technology as Check Point's corporate offerings, are targeting at locations up to 50 users.

Niall Moynihan, Check Point's technical director, said it has simplified installation with web-based management and technology to apply standardised policies which can be updated by service providers or users.

The products offer a "service orientated" solution that Check Point's users, resellers and potential telco partners have been asking it to provide for some time, he added.

Check Point is mounting a concerted push on a market already staked out by competitors like SonicWALL, whose products come in at around $450, SmoothWall (which provides a GPL product) and others.

Safe@Office costs between $599-$1199 for 10-25 users and prices beginning at $899 for VPN-1/FireWall-1 SmallOffice NG, the Check Point products are competitive to other commercial product

Nokia, Celesix, Intrusion Inc., and VPN Dynamics will be delivering security appliances or servers pre-installed with VPN-1/FireWall-1 SmallOffice NG. Safe@Office and Safe@Home Pro products will come with Check Point's subsidiary SofaWare's SofaWare S-box appliance.

Although the firm has weak brand awareness in the SME market its technology is well known and respected by ISPs, which can be expected to become the main resellers.

Certainly the products make a lot more sense than Check Point's subsidiary SofaWare's recently introduced Safe@Office consumer appliance, priced at the princely sum of $299. Even if its rented from service providers to frightened punters this still looks like an expensive choice for the price-sensitive consumer market.

That's not such an issue when working out ways that firms can connect telecommuters to corporate networks using SofaWare's Safe@Home Pro, which costs $399 with the addition of VPN features to what is essentially the same consumer box. ®

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