An All-in-One Network Appliance SMBs Can Afford

By Lauren Simonds
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As any small business owner can tell you, putting together a network to handle your business needs isn't easy — especially if you don't have an IT staff. And if an SMB has more than one location, ensuring that everyone within the company has access to the data they need becomes even more complicated.

Of course, just having a network is only the beginning. You have to protect it against viruses, spam and intrusion attacks, too. Network protection and management can be overwhelming for SMBs with limited budgets.

That's where ClearPath Network's SNAP VPN can make a difference. Designed specifically for cost-conscious SMBs, the network appliance contains eleven different network capabilities in one plug-and-play device.

Appliance Shopping
According to Cliff Young, the founder and chief executive officer at ClearPath, SNAP VPN combines enterprise-class capability with pricing that SMBs can manage.

"SMBs are underserved because they typically can't afford to maintain the type of network environment that we offer," he says. "They tend to buy discrete network components and cobble them together."

An AMI research study from 2003 states that 55 percent of SMBs don't feel protected enough when it comes to network security.

In addition, the rate of security threats has increased seven fold in the past 2.5 years.

"There's a real digital divide," says Young. "The big guys gain a competitive advantage because they can distribute their networks more efficiently. With the SNAP VPN, we're bridging the affordability gap."

Security Features
The SNAP VPN appliance addresses three areas of network concern: connectivity, security and management.

Within those three areas, SNAP provides these integrated features:

  • Site-to-Site VPN — secure between branch offices
  • Remote Access VPN — secure access for telecommuters
  • Firewall Protection — includes unlimited firewall rule changes
  • Content Filtering — restrict sites and content to handle spam and other inappropriate material
  • Antivirus Scanning — at the network layer so viruses don't reach employee desktops
  • Intrusion Detection — it recognizes 2300 intrusion signatures
  • Intrusion Prevention — automatically block detected intrusion attempts
  • Device Monitoring — monitor network performance, throughput, latency and availability
  • Network Management — Handle network security and administration tasks from any Web-based browser
  • Network Reporting — create reports on the monitored functions
  • 24x7 Updates and Tech Support — maintains current virus profiles and minimizes down time.

The low-cost, low-maintenance SNAP VPN brings enterprise-quality networking features to SMBs.

The SNAP VPN resides behind a bridge, modem, or router Internet gateway Plug the device in, and it self-installs within minutes. "The device provides a complete network environment and infrastructure," says Young. "It lets SMBs focus on deploying applications instead of spending time on the nuts and bolts of running a network.

Pricing Structure
You can buy the the SNAP VPN in one of two ways: as an appliance or as a managed service.

  • Appliance
    Includes the device and one year of maintenance, which covers backend services, updates for virus intrusion and content filtering. For ten seats, you'll pay $1,500 for the first year. Subsequent maintenance costs $295 per year. Buying years upfront lowers the cost.

  • Managed Service
    You buy the device outright for $1,500 and then buy service from a VAR (value-added reseller) on a monthly. The service includes the maintenance and may include other benefits depending on the VAR. For 10 seats, you can expect to pay around $149 a month.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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This article was originally published on September 02, 2004
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