This morning I had a call from a customer who already uses Kerio® Mailserver.
He had downloaded a demo of Kerio Connect Firewall and said he had a few questions. The first
was a small technical issue that he had actually already answered himself but
just wanted confirmation that he had done the right thing. He had, so
we moved on to his second question. That one was a little harder to
"So how come you never told me about this? This is great software!"
Hmmm. Yes, it is great software. It's powerful, it's easy to use. I
have customers using it and they like it a lot. So why don't I push it?
Why aren't I talking it up?
Well, I guess I just haven't found the right way to present this to
people. In the past, I have mentioned this now and then, and the response
almost always has been "Naaw, we'll use a hardware router. That's a lot
cheaper and easier".
Well, yeah, hardware routers can be cheaper and easier. You do need
to dedicate a PC to Connect, and that cost alone would buy a pretty
good router. Add the software cost of Control to that, and you are
getting up into pretty expensive territory (relative to hardware routers
But really it isn't all that bad: a fifty user Kerio Control
with all the bells and whistles runs about $2,400.00 initially and
renewing yearly support and updates is only around $1,000.00. That
includes McAfee antivirius scanning of SMTP, POP3, HTTP and FTP,
remote VPN clients and content filtering. A hardware router
with similar features is likely to be just as expensive, but
again you can argue that a hardware appliance is easier.
But is it? While some of my clients have bought spare routers
to cover hardware failure, most don't, and it's definitely a lot
easier to find a PC and reinstall Connect than find your specific
router - you won't find an Enterprise class router down at your local
Staples. There's also the matter of upgrades: while hardware router
manufacturers do release firmware upgrades, I've found customers tend
to ignore those. Perhaps it's because flashing a firmware upgrade
can be more difficult than doing a software update on a PC, or
maybe it's just fear of the unfamiliar, but my experience shows that
hardware appliances are more apt to be out of date. Understand that
there's no good reason or excuse for that, but that's still what I
see in the field.
Customers also tell me that the Control Administration Console is
much easier to understand and use than the hardware appliance they used
previously. There's also the matter of support: if you buy Connect
Firewall from me you are entitled to telephone and email support from
both me and Kerio.
OK, really I should push this more than I do. It's an excellent
product. You can download a 30 day demo from Kerio (and I can
get the demo extended if you need more time). I'm happy to help
you set this up - I think you'll agree that it really can be
better than a dedicated appliance.
Note: Kerio Control is now available as Windows software, a Linux VMWare image and as a dedicated hardware appliance.
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