Check Point firewall serves midsized businesses

Check Point has released a firewall for misdized businesses that offers enterprise-caliber features such as an Internet gateway and VPN. According to the company, it's well suited for smaller firms that need enhanced functionality but lack the manpower to manage a complex product.

This week Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. announced the availability of a new firewall designed specifically

for midsized businesses.

Check Point Express, a new product from the Redwood City, Calif. security vendor, bundles numerous features that are optional in the company's enterprise-class firewalls, but at a price point that is more appropriate for midsized businesses.

The new product includes an Internet gateway, a firewall and a virtual private network (VPN), as well as management capability. Check Point's current enterprise-class firewall requires users to purchase these and other features separately. Check Point's small business product does not work for businesses with over 100 employees.

Enterprises are looking for solutions that are tailored to their needs, said Sweta Duseja, Check Point's product manager. That is why the enterprise product has so many options. But the product didn't serve midsized businesses well because, for example, those companies often have stringent security requirements, but usually don't have a dedicated person on staff to manage the firewall and other security issues, she said.

"Medium-sized businesses want a completely secure infrastructure without complexity," she said.

Jeff Yang, a network administrator for Boston-based American Student Assistance, a student loan guarantor, agreed. Five years ago, his small organization purchased Check Point's enterprise-class firewall. Now that the midsized product is available, he said that he'd prefer it over the enterprise product because it bundles all the functionality he needs and the price is much more reasonable.

Duseja said that an average 50-person deployment of Check Point Express costs about $5,000 and can handle up to 500 users.

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