IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

SonicWall Uncorks Gusher of Network Security Solutions

Part of an unfolding effort to build a comprehensive breach detection and prevention platform, the new product wave includes an updated OS and mobile access gateway, plus a new firewall (pictured), wireless access point family, and security analytics service. By Rich Freeman

In a major stride toward its long-term goal of building a comprehensive breach detection and prevention platform, SonicWall Inc. has introduced a major wave of new security hardware and software products.

Those offerings span from an updated release of the company’s firewall operating system, to a new firewall and set of associated wireless access points, a new cloud-based security analytics and forensics solution, and a refreshed edition of its Secure Mobile Access gateway appliance.

The new edition of Santa Clara, Calif.-based SonicWall’s firewall operating system, officially known as SonicOS 6.5, is one of the most significant overhauls of that product in its history, according to director of network security product management Dmitriy Ayrapetov, who points in particular to the software’s dramatically re-designed interface.

“We’ve reorganized the user interface to make it more intuitive,” he says. “This is a major step for us in terms of usability and accessibility of our products.”

Based on input from a team of user experience experts who studied how SonicWall customers utilize its products, the new UI splits the operating system’s functionality into three parts: a monitoring section that displays resource status information, an investigation section where users can study past and present security events, and a management section where administrators can save configuration changes.

Users who wish to, Ayrapetov notes, can also utilize a built-in “escape hatch” to switch back to the classic SonicOS interface.

New as well in SonicOS 6.5 are a host of wireless security and connectivity features designed to assist with network planning, performance management, monitoring, and troubleshooting, as well as an enhanced version of SonicWall’s threat API. Unveiled in February and shipped in March, the threat API enables channel pros and IT departments to integrate multi-vendor environments.

“The future goal that we’re marching toward here is automation of security,” notes Ayrapetov. “Automation has to happen [in security], because otherwise end users are going to drown in the events that they have to deal with.”

The next significant step in that effort will occur in the first quarter of 2018, Ayrapetov continues, when SonicWall builds a RESTful API into its firewalls. “We want our firewalls to be a programmable security fabric,” he states.

The new firewall introduced today is an entry-level addition to SonicWall’s NSA product line. Optimized for branch and campus environments with 150 to 250 users, the new NSA 2650 is, according to SonicWall, the first firewall with support for both multi-gigabit wired and 802.11ac Wave 2 wireless networks.

The system also provides deep packet inspection of TLS/SSL-encrypted traffic in an effort to help businesses detect and block ransomware attacks, and features 12,000 DPI SSL connections, a twelvefold increase over the earlier NSA 2600 appliance. According to Ayrapetov, that figure will rise to 20,000 connections early next year.

Also announced today was an associated set of multi-gigabit wireless access points. Called the SonicWave series and designed for use with the NSA 2650, those products include 4x4 MU-MIMO and 802.11ac Wave 2 technology, plus a 2.5 GbE port and dedicated security radio. They also come at what SonicWall hopes will be disruptive price points.

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