Dell unveils next generation of its SonicWALL TZ Series firewalls

Dell is encouraging partners to take these souped up models to their customers, even if their existing firewalls are not that old, because both threats and Dell’s response have ramped up massively, and older machines may not be able to keep up.

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The new SonicWALL TZ Series firewall family

Today, Dell is announcing the release of the new generation of its SonicWALL TZ Series firewalls, which, in addition to the normal upgrades in performance over the older models, adds the ability to inspect SSL connections and an 802.11ac wireless controller built into the box.

The TZ series is a state of the art Unified Threat Management (UTM) firewall. Its’ last new generation was in 2009, followed by a mid-generation refresh in 2012.

“The series, which has five models, covers the small business space as well as enterprise remote sites and branch offices, retail and government,” said Kent Shuart, product marketing manager, Dell Security. “Small businesses have the same type of vulnerabilities as everyone else, as does retail, which has always been a great area for us. They need enterprise level security, but also simple management, that in the case of retail can be handled by the main office.”

The new models dramatically increase network performance to support faster Internet speeds, with intrusion prevention speeds reaching 1.1Gbps. They also boast the expected range of UTM enhancements, including anti-malware protection, full packet inspection, intrusion prevention, content and URL filtering, and application control as well as secure mobile access for laptops, smartphones and tablets.

They also have some new functionality. Dell’s 2015 Security Annual Threat Report indicated that with the growth of SSL traffic (60 per cent of internet connections at the end of 2014 were encrypted using SSL), cyberattacks are increasingly hidden from legacy network security products within SSL traffic.

“The highest end model in the TZ Series reacts to this with the ability to analyze SSL encrypted feeds to provide the protection these customers need from their firewall,” Shuart said.

All the models now have an 802.11AC integrated wireless controller.

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Kent Shuart, product marketing manager, Dell Security

“We can scan traffic for all threats, and inspect the complete file, with no size or file format limitations, which differentiates us,” Shuart. “We want to make sure everything that comes into the organization has a chance to be looked at by the firewall.”

The Dell partners who sell these solutions, many of whom came with SonicWALL, contain a high percentage of partners in very small shops of five or under, some of whom are sole proprietors, who do very well for both Dell and themselves selling to the small and micro markets. Shuart said that these models should help them expand to new customers, as well as go back to their install base with a much superior product.

“With the need for speed, and SSL protection, customer needs are changing and evolving,” he said. “Partners can go to customers they haven’t gone to before with these new features, like SSL encryption. The firewalls many customers have may not have the juice to take care of SSL, and many companies turn their firewalls off to keep things running at top speed. The speed of these new models present partners with great opportunities.”

Shuart also made reference to a comment that Matt Medeiros, VP and GM, Security Products, Dell Software Group, made at last fall’s Dell Security Peak Performance event for its best security partners.

“Matt said that security can be an enabler for businesses, and what that means here is that if partners walk into a small business with the type of security we offer, they can confidently say that they customer will have security that won’t make them a liability. That’s what these products do.”

Shuart also emphasized that partners need to take these machines to their install base, even if they sold them one of the upgraded 2012 models.

“Keeping up with security can be really expensive, and as a result, people tend to buy a firewall and hang onto it for 4-5 years,” he said. “They need to look at security closer and refresh firewalls faster, like the suggested 3 year PC refresh cycle. Criminals are getting more sophisticated. Advancements in the attack plane keep going up. In response, our service goes up, but firewall speed on older machines may not be keeping up. Partners need to emphasize that customers need to keep their firewall updated with the type of threats that are coming out.”

The new Dell SonicWALL TZ Series firewalls are available now.