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 4×4 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.
“We’re going to be very, very aggressive because we want to take market share in wireless,” Ayrapetov says.
SonicWall’s new Cloud Analytics solution is a software-as-a-service offering designed to help administrators subject data on network traffic, application utilization, threats, and other security-related matters to investigative and forensic scrutiny.
Companies can operate the system either on a stand-alone basis or as an integrated component of the cloud-based version of SonicWall’s Global Management System (GMS) that debuted in May. When used in conjunction with GMS, Cloud Analytics lets administrators use forensic insights to safeguard network assets, by blocking specific and dangerous traffic flows, for example.
The final piece of today’s product barrage, the new 12.1 release of SonicWall’s Secure Mobile Access (SMA) gateway, automatically runs file uploads through the company’s Capture Advanced Threat Protection offering. First rolled out 18 months ago, Capture is a cloud-based, multi-engine sandbox initially designed to augment the capabilities of SonicWall firewalls and later added to the vendor’s email security portfolio as well. With SMA under the Capture umbrella too, the technology now protects all three of SonicWall’s major solution buckets.
In addition, SMA 12.1 offers consolidated access to cloud and onsite resources via a customizable web portal.
“This is a very, very easy way for you to rollout a federated single sign-on solution,” Ayrapetov says. “It truly provides secure mobile access from anywhere to anywhere.”
SonicWall’s most recent batch of new and updated solutions is but the latest in a steady stream of product releases since the company split off from Dell Technologies last November and became an independent business once more.
“We’ve been kind of at a frenetic pace here,” says John Gordineer, SonicWall’s director of product marketing, who adds that the ultimate goal of that activity is the creation of an end-to-end set of security products capable of delivering complete, layered protection.
“That’s really what our customers need,” he says. “They need to have it all tied together, and they need a vendor who is very much focused on that top to bottom platform approach to providing those security capabilities.”
SonicWall’s expanding family of products benefits its partners too, Gordineer adds.
“[It] allows our partners to go out and sell a broader portfolio of solutions to each of their customers,” he says.
Global spending on security products and services will reach $86.4 billion this year, according to Gartner.