Kerio Control Review

The security has been very good and the VPN connections are reliable in that they stay up

What is our primary use case?

We have our server in our head office, so we have offices that log into it from various other cities and run their accounting software on it.

How has it helped my organization?

We have several offices in different provinces across Canada and because of that, the connection has been very secure and reliable. We haven't had any downtime with it other than when we had the NG100 fail. Other than that, it's made the connection to our websites, our office, and our eCommerce sites all very reliable. That's been very important.

What is most valuable?

The most valuable feature is the reliability of VPN capabilities. The VPN has been very reliable and secure. The security has been very good and the VPN connections are reliable in that they stay up. We don't have a lot of problems with downtime and that type of thing.

The comprehensiveness of the security features is extremely good. 

Kerio offers everything I need in one product. 

The firewall and intrusion detection features are good. We've had some intrusion attempts that were stopped. The firewall has been doing extremely well for attempted hacks, as well as working well with the intrusion protection.

The VPN features are good They have a solid VPN client, which we found to be extremely good and reliable on various operating systems. Other than that, the VPN has been good. 

Kerio is extremely easy to use. They're easy to install and pre-configure. If you have to do any maintenance it's well handled through the system. Remote connection, logging in, and doing changes on the system is extremely well handled.

We do use the failover in our head office. The failover is working extremely well. The last test on that was May of 2000 and 2020. The failover seems to be working well and the security has been good, so they've felt very confident in having it up and working as it's supposed to be. It's configured as per the instructions and it's working really well.

Kerio has enabled us to double the number of VPN clients extended to those outside of our environment. It started a little bit before the pandemic but just because some of the companies started to work more from home to cut down on costs. But since COVID that's where it shows it's doubled.

What needs improvement?

One of the problems we do have causes problems with the VPN. The software slows the throughput down too much. You could have a one-gigabit connection from the internet, and it slows it down to where the area of upload and download is extremely slow. There's too much content filtering at that point.

Quality control is another problem that needs to be handled better, particularly in the NG100 series. We have had to replace a couple of those. Other than that, the throttling down of the speed is too much. It is too heavy.

Other than that, I think they're good. 

For how long have I used the solution?

We first started with Kerio back in 2003.

We have an NG300, NG100, NG300W, and we still have a couple of 1120s.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Other than the quality of the NG100, stability has been extremely good.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability has been extremely well handled. We can very quickly figure out what size of a machine a customer needs and put it into position.

We have four people that do them, but usually, when we're shipping out, one person sets it up and then they deploy it remotely and have the customer follow their instructions remotely.

We don't have plans to increase usage because of the problems we have encountered with the company and the follow-up. We would have. We had quite a few of them, I don't know an exact count anymore because it's changed over but even now we've still got about 32 of them in use right now. But we've switched over probably triple that away from it.

How are customer service and technical support?

GFI's technical support is improving but at the very beginning, it was very bad. There was no way to contact them. When you did call, you didn't get returned messages. It is improving, but it's still not at a level where we're happy with it.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used SonicWall. We were looking for something that was really rock solid. We had a very bad experience with SonicWall and their support was very bad. We had a client that was down and they couldn't and didn't help us. We had to find something else in a hurry. 

One of our technicians had been reading up on Kerio so we brought one of their machines in and configured it. That's one of the first ones he did and he said that the setup was really good. He installed it and got the client back up and running, and then we started looking into it and found it was much better. Strangely enough, shortly after that, the sales rep we were dealing with at SonicWall left and he went to Kerio also.

Something that really bothers us about GFI, is that as a partner or a reseller, they believe that the customers belong to them. As a reseller, we take a lot of time building trust and confidence with our clients. We've been in business 30 odd years, and we still have clients with us that we took on back 30, 32, 37 years ago. They're still our clients, they deal with us, and they trust us. SonicWall did it and now GFI does it. They insist on all of the contact information for our customers if we sell them a machine. Then they start direct emailing them and our clients start saying, "I hired you to take care of this, why are these people sending me all this junk?"

Plus, we're in Canada and they send out this information and emails and it has U.S. pricing on it. They make a big deal about that it's only $100 or something, and then by the time we convert it to Canadian, we're looking at $135 and the clients forget that very quickly. It's very misleading to clients. Our customers don't like it. That's one of the other reasons that we're moving everybody from Kerio, because of what GFI's policy is of insisting on having all of our customer's names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, and everything else.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty good. The guys are used to it now. They've done a fair number of machines and they're very used to it.

It has become familiar and they're consistent from one model to another. The instructions are straightforward and a good tech should have no problem with it at all. The thing is that they're not a home machine, they're for business. If it has a tech working on it is no problem at all. It's quite simple.

An average deployment takes two and a half hours. 

Network engineers set it up. Even one of our web developers has set up some of them. They have been very happy with training other people to do them. They don't have any problems. It's quite simple. The engineer was the first one to start working with Kerio back when we took them on, and he found that even in the beginning, from learning on his own, it only took him about four to eight machines to feel confident that he could do it without having to follow the instructions every time.

The size of the companies we work with vary. We call them medium-size, but some of them are only one location with 5 to 20 employees. We host a lot of our e-commerce systems and clients have those on their machines so that when the e-commerce inquiries come in, they go through that router. They become a medium-sized business very quickly because of the amount of business they're doing.

Kerio is a good solution for companies of this size. It comes down to the same thing, reliable, cost-effective, the VPN connections are good for the security between the e-commerce sites. Our eCommerce site is dynamic, so it's connected between the customers' inventory, warehousing, shipping, and billing system, directly to the e-commerce site. It makes it a lot tighter and more security is required because they are connecting directly to the customers' business machines, as well as just e-commerce hosted sites. Reliability and security are very highly needed because it does run their e-commerce sites. 

What was our ROI?

We see ROI through the ease of setup. We have a flat fee for configuring one, we charge for one before we ship it out for installation or go and install it. A customer pays the retail price, converted to Canadian at the current exchange rate, and that's what we charge the customer for the machine based on Kerio's MSRP. Then we charge them a flat rate for configuring it, which is two hours and we charge them for two hours labor. Then we charge them for whatever time it takes to do it remotely on-site, or if we're going on-site and having to install it, we charge for that time. If you charge for your time and the value, then you're going to make a good return on it.

But if you go in undercutting prices, something has to suffer. We have never had a customer say to us that they're upset because we haven't taken care of them if they have a problem with one of the Kerio devices. There have been issues, they're machines, they're going to break down. But we've never had a customer say that it wasn't taken care of properly by us. When we had SonicWall that was a problem, we took care of the customer, we couldn't get the machine that he should have had properly under warranty, so we just went and got him a different machine, put it in and got him up and going.

That's where we have to charge for it. We did charge the customer for that, but he felt that we provided the service he needed. It just gave him a very bad taste in his mouth because he couldn't get it under warranty. Undercutting prices, either in your services or your pricing of the hardware is what's happening now on the internet, we see that people are buying Kerio cheaper. We say to them "If you insist on buying it and want us to install it, we're going to charge you to install it, and if there's a problem with DOA or anything like that, dead on arrival, that's up to you." We hand it back to them and say this machine's got a problem, you have to get it fixed.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing is good. Our businesses have been around a long time and we've done that by not being the cheapest, but trying to be the best or one of the best. There's a lot of very good software and hardware companies out there, but a lot of them try to just undercut pricing and try to get the deal. We do not do that. We have a feeling we know what the value of our product is, if it's our own product. In a case where we have a router system, we know the value of it, we know what the value of the software licensing is for renewal and for the initial startup. We look at those things at the beginning, and we felt that Kerio was well in line. The price seems to be going up now, it hasn't gone up as bad as some of its competitors yet, but we'll keep an eye on that. Right now the pricing is valid for the product and the service they get.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did look at and we're also an authorized Cisco reseller, but they're doing the same thing as SonicWall now. These big companies forget who puts all the work in. What they're trying to do, in my opinion, is get the little reseller to go out and hire the right people and go out and move their product, get them installed, and then they want to start going to them directly. I understand that smaller companies come and go but we've been here 37 years in total. They shouldn't go to our customers and start trying to direct sell to them and that type of thing. 

We were also a Dell reseller and we quit because we had to register every sale with them, and then they were going direct to the customers. It's not fair to the company that's gone out and done all the work.

What other advice do I have?

The machine is a good value for the price and the software is extremely good value for the price. It's proven out to be good, but we're just disappointed in the company that now owns it and took over from it. They're improving, but it took too long to improve and it cost us a lot of money in that way. But I can't blame it on Kerio, I have to blame it on GFS.

I would rate Kerio Control a nine out of ten. 

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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