If you were talking to someone whose organization is considering SonicWall SMA, what would you say?
How would you rate it and why? Any other tips or advice?
We're official partners with SonicWall and system integrators. We're a platinum partner with Dell and silver partners with SonicWall. We're also partners with FortiGate The solution is very good. It's stable and robust. There's great support for their anti-phishing and anti-virus software. SonicWall is also working 24/7 in relation to viruses. There's a quick response and R&D works efficiently and comes out with updates as necessary. We've found SonicWall to be a great solution for current market conditions. I'd rate the solution nine out of ten.
We like to keep on upgrading to the latest versions because of security and performance advantages. Depending on the client, we push them to the higher versions. The higher versions are often much better and take advantage of enhanced technology. For that reason, we always try to upgrade the client so they have the best security. While we keep on updating, we do study the changes. We don't have an in-house lab but we do testing before deploying to the clients. If it is working fine, then we recommend that upgrade. But primarily, we don't force the updates onto the client because sometimes we do face some problems because of bugs. In our case, we are using on-premises. We do not have any of our clients using any cloud-based solutions. We are keenly looking into it, but people are still a little bit skeptical of SSL-VPN coming through the cloud. In this part of the world, people are not that trusting in that solution because they do not generally trust deployment on the cloud. Another reason for being on-premises is that we don't have enough bandwidth for this solution and taking it on-premises resolves that potential issue. Right now everything is working fine with this solution. The SSL-VPN is more compatible with the Mac series, iPhone, MacBook Pros and all Mac devices. Compared to IPsec (Internet Protocol Security), SSL-VPNs are much much easier to configure. SSL-VPN has become very stable and faster than IPsec. My advice for others looking into implementing SonicWall SMA SSL-VPN is basically, that I feel they should have a look at it as a comparison before taking any SSL-VPN solution. But they also need to do the calculation of the resources like how much bandwidth they need, the right boxes they would have to pick up, etcetera. The minimum requirements have to be there, otherwise, SSL-VPN cannot work as it is supposed to. The example for this is: Let's say you have capacity on a device for 100 MBPS, you have only 10 MBPS for your upload speeds. This limitation is what the SSL-VPN is going to work with — the standard MBPS speed. This will vary depending on where you are. But this is not the only concern. On the same bandwidth when MBPS speeds are normal, say you can easily have five to six users working and the performance is fine. But say you are experiencing a degradation in performance even though you're having high-end processing devices. Your VPN will be slow with the same number of users if the bandwidth performance drops as there is not enough bandwidth to allocate for that number of users. This is one of the ideas which users have to really look into before making choices on equipment. The scalability for the SSL-VPNs is affected by the upload bandwidth. It does not matter whatever device you put in place. Without the bandwidth resources, it doesn't make sense to just have the best equipment. The cost calculation, the number of users you expect, and what you are going to want the purpose of the VPN to be will all affect what choices should be made and the success of the deployment. This is actually one of the biggest lessons I learned in working with the diversity of clients in various areas because of the problems they experienced. We don't want clients to come back and say something is wrong. We have to do a kickoff meeting to do a study on what they have that is an existing solution — if they have anything existing. You have to do your homework on the existing network and set up and then get into deciding what changes to make. That will ease your real burden in support and customer satisfaction and things will work out fine. But just going in and configuring your SSL-VPN like everyone else, you may end up in trouble. Sometimes, even though a client installation is working for many years, a company we work for as consultants call us back and want to change a configuration in the SSL-VPN. If we go in without really looking at the detailing of their setup, we can end up having a surprise for sure. We need to know what has changed over that time or we can make the same mistakes that we would have made in the initial deployment. The real lesson I learned most is just to step back and try to collect as much information as possible before implementing any solution for any client. It is not advice that applies for only SonicWall, it applies to any solution. You step back to collect the client's information about the network logic diagrams and other factors that affect their needs. Then take some time to study the information and make the appropriate choices. When you do that, it will go very well without any issues. On a scale from one to ten, where one is the worst and ten is the best, I would rate SonicWall SSL-VPN as an 8. It is perfect for me but it is not perfect for everyone's needs or solutions.
We do not have a relationship with SonicWall, we are customers. I would not recommend this solution without them speaking to an IT consultant. They have IT consultants, and it's recommended to use a consultant to handle it. We are currently looking at other solutions because SonicWall just cannot compare and we feel that we need to increase the speed. I would rate this solution a six out of ten.
I am hoping to expand our use of this solution to accommodate remote access to hospital information system applications that our doctors and nurses use. There is support for Citrix, but we do not have it so we have not tested this yet. Perhaps next year, we will try it. This is a solution that I recommend for other institutions, including other hospitals. It has good functionality and security. It is built on the Linux operating system. It contains most of the features that I need for my users. I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.