IT Central Station is now PeerSpot: Here's why

Kerio Control OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

Kerio Control is #2 ranked solution in top Intrusion Detection and Prevention Software and #9 ranked solution in best firewalls. PeerSpot users give Kerio Control an average rating of 7.8 out of 10. Kerio Control is most commonly compared to pfSense: Kerio Control vs pfSense. Kerio Control is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 47% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 40% of all views.
Kerio Control Buyer's Guide

Download the Kerio Control Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: July 2022

What is Kerio Control?

Kerio Control is a popular security product for small and medium-sized businesses. It is a next-generation firewall that provides unified threat management without complexity. Kerio Control provides advanced anti-virus protection and industry-leading web and content application filtering, and has a secure VPN.

With Kerio Control you can:

  • Preserve the integrity of your network.
  • Manage bandwidth to streamline traffic flows.
  • Improve productivity with filtering capabilities.

Kerio Control Features

Some of Kerio Control’s most valuable features include:

High availability, deployment flexibility, deep packet inspection, advanced routing, usage reporting, quick administering, intrusion detection and prevention (IPS), gateway anti-virus, VPN, web and content application filtering, and centralized administration with MyKerio.

Kerio Control Benefits

  • Eliminate downtime risks: Because Kerio Control offers high availability and failover protection, you can eliminate the risk and cost of connectivity or threat protection downtime.

  • Detailed reports: Kerio Control makes it easy to view individual users’ internet activity through detailed reports.

  • Traffic monitoring: Traffic monitoring allows you to manage bandwidth and makes it possible for you to control access to streaming video and peer-to-peer networks.

  • Server protection: Using Kerio Control’s advanced networking routing and deep packet inspection, you can protect servers.

  • Easily create policies: With Kerio Control, you can create both inbound and outbound traffic policies, and can also restrict communication by specific URLs, applications, traffic type, content category, or even time of day.

  • Snort-based analysis: Kerio Control gives you the ability to add a transparent layer of intrusion prevention with snort-based analysis along with a database of rule and blacklisted IP addresses that is regularly refreshed.

  • Optionally integrated anti-virus: WIth this feature, you can prevent viruses, Trojans, or spyware from entering your networks.

Reviews from Real Users

Here is some feedback from some of our users who are currently using the solution:

PeerSpot user Brian C., Senior Technology Specialist, VP at Unified Technology Solutions, writes "It is very comprehensive and simple. It has all the active protections. It's updated. We love that you can set how often it is updated so you can work on what is right for you. A large company with a lot of bandwidth can update the virus definitions and security definitions hourly, if they want. A smaller site that's remote, where maybe updating the definitions will eat into the bandwidth, we can schedule those more to go later at night. It's very flexible and works for us in all types of situations. This is great because then we don't have to learn seven different products to be able to work with seven different scenarios."

Andy D., IT Manager at Flare Technologies, praises how easy it is to use and says, "One thing we use quite a lot, as well, is the DHCP Server, because we do a lot of work where all our devices need to have static IP addresses. Rather than going around and configuring every box, we do it all through DHCP reservations. It's easier. We've got a record of it. We can manipulate it if we need to change something or change some hardware. It's all easy. Even guys who are not used to using it can pick it up quite quickly."



Kerio Control Customers

Triton Technical, McDonald's

Kerio Control Video

Kerio Control Pricing Advice

What users are saying about Kerio Control pricing:
  • "It is priced low enough for entry-level, but it has the power to grow with a company without them having to replace it."
  • "The biggest advice that I could probably give people is when you buy the solution be prepared to either buy the unlimited license or buy more licenses than you think. Each user license gives you one employee and each a user gives you five devices. In the world nowadays where everybody has a cellphone, tablet, desktop, and laptop, that's four devices. You still get one more device per person. That covers your servers and back-ends."
  • "I think it is a bit on the pricey side, but it's okay. I've got 50 licenses which I think is $250 a year or something like that."
  • "On the low-end device that I use, it has unlimited IP addresses. So, they have a subscription model where, on the higher models, you pay X dollars for 10 IP addresses. Then, if you want any more, you have to pay more on the model. On the low-end model, it has unlimited IP addresses, because if you have too many users, the thing will just slow you down and stop working. At some point, you need to say, "Okay, I've grown to a point where performance is impacted. I need to get some bigger hardware." If I get to that stage, I will possibly look at using one of the virtual appliances and putting it on some bigger hardware."
  • "It gets expensive pretty quickly if you need to purchase license packs."
  • "It's pretty expensive in licensing costs, especially if you use the product longer than one or two years. The licensing costs are still high, which I don't think is reasonable for a product like this."
  • "It's too expensive. The license, in the last year or so, has gone up by over a £100. We're almost being out-priced by the annual license at the minute."
  • Kerio Control Reviews

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    BrianCook - PeerSpot reviewer
    Information Security Officer - VP at Unified Technology Solutions
    Reseller
    Top 5Leaderboard
    Through the ease of how quickly we could roll out the VPN to everybody, we had whole companies remotely working overnight
    Pros and Cons
    • "It is very comprehensive and simple. It has all the active protections. It's updated. We love that you can set how often it is updated so you can work what is right for you. A large company with a lot of bandwidth can update the virus definitions and security definitions hourly, if they want. A smaller site that's remote, where maybe updating the definitions will eat into the bandwidth, we can schedule those more to go later at night. It's very flexible and works for us in all types of situations. This is great because then we don't have to learn seven different products to be able to work with seven different scenarios."
    • "I would like to see a little improvement in their technical support when you have a problem. I may be a little jaded because I came from Kerio when we could call and get a person on the phone who worked on the product. Every tech had their own demo setup. They had instant messaging capability with the developers. If we found a problem, then we could get a result for it quickly. Now, the product seems to be 24 hours. They have also gone to the model that if you need quicker support, then they now charge you additional for the exact same level of support that they used to give. I am assuming it's the exact same level of support that they say it is. I'm not paying extra for it. That's the biggest flaw with the product."

    What is our primary use case?

    We use it ourselves and deploy it to our customers, which are small and medium-sized businesses. Our use cases are for both ourselves and our clients, mainly as a frontline protection for their internal networks to filter viruses and threats as well as for web filtering to ensure employees and guest networks don't access material that wouldn't be appropriate to be viewed. It's also used for remote access VPNs so remote users can access internal servers and resources, as well as site-to-site VPNs for multi-site offices to access resources located either at the main HQ headquarters or at an alternate site.

    How has it helped my organization?

    It does antivirus, malware, and ransomware. We feel the coverage is complete across the entire spectrum of malware, viruses, and most ransomware. It also covers some types of adware, which is an unwanted program that's not necessarily bad, but there's no reason to have it.

    We have a lot of other companies that were multi-site companies which had servers at different sites not talking to each other. They had remote workers or maybe they were using open RDP as their access to their internal network. These customers were getting ransomware infections and constantly just getting frustrated not being able to share resources between sites and this gives them the capability. I have a lot of customers, especially in the non-profit market, where we've had a lot of success deploying the solution. 

    A lot of the non-profits also have open WiFi and the filtering tools have been great for making sure that the WiFi bandwidth isn't drained by somebody sitting there and just surfing videos. We can control the open WiFi and we can control public computers to make sure that they stay just on the sites that we want them to stay on, e.g., employment sites, training, etc. So, it's been really helpful for the non-profits.

    If a tech has a basic understanding of firewalls, NATing, and security, it is amazing how quick we can teach them how to use the product to its full capabilities. We can take a half day to a day and a brand new tech who's never seen the product can pretty much understand it enough to set it up, work with a customer, and make changes that a customer requests. There's nothing better than a customer calling and saying, "We need to add this site," and instead of saying, "Well, let me open a ticket and get an engineer to look at the thing," we go, "One second," and, through the MyKerio portal, find their firewall, remote into it, make the change, and say, "Okay, test it now. Works? Perfect." Hang up the phone and we are done.

    With COVID-19 and everything that has happened, customers would call us up and say, "We're shutting down. Friday's our last day. Everybody is going to work from home." In 24 hours, we could have them all working remotely. The amount of time and simplicity of getting users set up with the VPN allowed us to get massive numbers of users working remotely at businesses that had never even considered remote work as a possibility. Or, maybe the owner had a little bit of remote capability, but that was it. Just through the ease of and the free VPN client it was amazing how quickly we could roll out VPN to everybody, we had whole companies remotely working overnight.

    What is most valuable?

    The most valuable feature for us is the ease of use. We don't have to go crazy trying to figure out how to do something. It allows you to make changes, set things up, turn on things for a customer without having to go through 37 different menus, read the manual, and try to remember it. It's pretty straightforward. That's what attracted it to us in the beginning. While we can work with complicated systems, most of our customers don't need them, then we end up just spending more time setting up the solution than we really need to. It's more productive, the customer saves money and at the same time and we make more money off of it. I can set up a whole firewall solution in 30 minutes and that's valuable to me.

    We have been very happy with the security features. We find that the keyword filtering is great. Also, the antivirus filtering is excellent. One thing we always tell our customers is that we have never had a client using Kerio Control and the antivirus tools that we suggest who has been infected with any type of ransomware. We have customers who have had ransomware, but they were all ones who chose not to go with Kerio Control. That's always just been a very simple, easy, and powerful fact that we can explain to people, "We've never had a customer who has used this firewall along with our recommended antivirus and had a ransomware infection."

    It is very comprehensive. It has all the active protections. It's updated regularly. We love that you can set how often threat definitions updated so you can work what is right for the site. A large company with a lot of bandwidth can update the virus definitions and security definitions hourly, if they want. A smaller site that's remote, where maybe updating the definitions will eat into the bandwidth, we can schedule those more to go later at night. It's very flexible and works for us in all types of situations. This is great because then we don't have to learn seven different products to be able to work with seven different scenarios.

    We've been very happy with the solution’s firewall and intrusion detection features. The company has been pretty good when it comes to maintaining it and closing out security holes. For example, when there was a security bug found in the encryption in the VPN, they were very quick about reacting to that and coming out with a new VPN client encryption. At the same time, they made sure that for those cases where maybe you couldn't upgrade right away, there was a bit of overlap of backward capability so you weren't like, "Oh geez. I have to do everybody at once."

    We love the VPN feature. That is one of our favorite things. The free client that they have makes it so easy to attach computers to the company network and we can usually set somebody up in like five minutes or so. It's real simple for the users because of the way that it presents the information you don't have all types of weird keys and stuff that users have to remember or write down, which is great because a key lost on a piece of paper is just as bad as a key found by a hacker. So, the computer memorizes it all, stores it, and makes it real simple with a push button to either connect, disconnect, or keep the connection persistent, which we love because then for a company-owned computer it stays connected from the moment the user logs in to logs out. Then, we can actually sync the user's VPN credentials to their Active Directory account and that is really helpful, because if a user leaves, disabling their Active Directory credential also disables their VPN credentials automatically and now when an employee is no longer with the company we don't have to worry about going to a separate system and shutting that VPN down until we can get our hands physically back on the laptop. We don't have security risks hanging out there.

    MyKerio is a really neat tool where there's one central website that I can go and see every Kerio firewall that we manage. I don't have to go find specific logins for every firewall because I log into the MyKerio site with my master credentials, and it has two-factor authentication to make sure it's secure. Once I'm in, I can choose any of the Kerio firewalls that we manage: Kerio firewalls, Kerio Operator Phone Systems, or their Kerio Connect mail product. I can find any of them and quickly attach to it, then help the customer. It makes it real nice instead of having to chase down a list of IP addresses and passwords. As a managed service provider, it's nice because if a tech leaves, then I can cut them out of all our customers by simply closing their MyKerio account since they never actually had a direct login to the firewall itself.

    What needs improvement?

    The one feature that seemed to be missing for a while that they finally just readded was the ability to filter by known IP lists, either specific countries, or lists of IPs know to be hackers. That was in the product awhile ago, but just wasn't maintained for a while, but they recently did start to maintain it again it.

    The MyKerio online portal could probably use a little touch up and tweaks, sometimes the backups just fail or you have to log off and back in with a new browser to connect to a device. The site is glitchy every now and then.

    The guest network that they had behind a splash screen is the one spot that we're not thrilled with. We believe the guest network could have a more reliable and better customization on the splash screen, and sometimes we have issues with users getting to the splash screen at all. Our solution is just buy unlimited licenses to get around that. Then instead of using the guest WiFi, we create a whole separate VLAN with no splash page or use a splash page through the access points if we need a splash page. Its also not customizable at all so you can't put logos or names on it, make them accept a usage agreement, etc.

    Buyer's Guide
    Kerio Control
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Kerio Control. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    620,319 professionals have used our research since 2012.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    It was long before GFI even owned them. It has to be almost 10 years.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    We have not had any problems with the stability at all. It's pretty solid once we get them running. Besides reboots for updates, we usually never have to do anything with them. The only ones that I can ever remember failing are caused by physical hardware failures. A lot of times either there is a lightning strike, electrical surge, or something like that. Once or twice, we've had a fail where we can't tell exactly why it failed, but it's always been the hardware that's failed, not the firewall software. I do remember one very old box that had gone through multiple iterations and had copied backups from hardware to hardware to hardware for almost a decade, which started acting a little funny. It stayed up, but we would see weird logs that didn't make sense. For that one, we finally did a backup, wiped it, restored the backup, and all the problems went away. That's the only time where the software was the cause and it was nothing that actually affected end users.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    I have it in customers that have four users. The largest site that we've had (with a single box) is probably 150 users, including guests, and it scaled right up and I'm sure I could have pushed it much farther. Again the nice part about the product is they have a software-only version where you could put it on your own hardware, where you can slap it in a Xeon server if you really needed to, and I'd have no fears that the product could actually filter a whole school campus.

    In our company, it's mainly our techs who work with this solution. The roles are usually customer-facing techs and support techs. We call them technology specialists, but it would be equal to a tech support type person. Everybody in the company dealing with customers knows how to manage the product because it's so simple. There's no reason to have a firewall engineer. We have a senior person for a really complex setup, but every tech can work on the product and set it up for the average company. Every tech can make changes that the customer requests right then and there when they call.

    How are customer service and support?

    I would like to see a little improvement in their technical support when you have a problem.  I may be a little jaded because I came from Kerio when we could call and get a person on the phone who actually worked on the product and every tech had their own demo setup for testing. They also had instant messaging capability with the developers. If we found a problem, then we could get a result for it quickly. Now, the product seems to be 24 hours response no matter what the issue. They have also gone to the model that if you need quicker support, then they now charge you additional for the exact same level of support that they used to give for free. I am assuming it's the exact same level of support that they say it is. I'm not paying extra for it. That's the biggest flaw with the product.

    How would you rate customer service and support?

    Positive

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

    We have a mix. A lot of our customers are just building or starting to manage thier network, so this is their first new product that didn't come from an office store. We also have some that were replacing an existing product either because the product got old and it was time to replace it, or sometimes because we've seen issues with other products we know this will fix. For one product in particular, we will see point-to-point VPN instability sometimes that customers have been dealing with years. We'll say, "Hey, let us put this in. Chances are it's going to clear up." Usually, it does. One customer had a point-to-point VPN with a that product that would go down almost every day. Now, the point-to-points have been up for about five months straight. This shows how reliable the solution is. 

    For other customers, sometimes we'll replace another product because they got oversold. They'll have some very large product that's really expensive, and we're like, "Hey, that's cool. It does a ton of neat things you don't even need. But this product will do pretty much all the same things, especially all the things you currently use as well as give you some capability to grow into." A lot of customers didn't realize they need VPNs until all of a sudden they grow. There is nothing worse than telling a customer, "Remember when you saved a couple hundred bucks a year ago. Well, that's all gone now because the product you chose doesn't support this." That's what we like about this solution. It is priced low enough for entry-level, but it has the power to grow with a company without them having to replace it.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup is super straightforward. We can get a basic firewall running in under an hour. That is from opening the box  to getting it working. We tend to take it out of the box and do a little bit of preconfiguring for half an hour, maybe 45 minutes if it's a really complex multi-VLAN setup. Once you have it ready and bring it out to the customer site, then you plug it in and do a couple of final steps. We can get a sealed box to set up in under an hour.

    We do have some basic guidelines that we try and use across all of our customers (minimum requirements), but because we deal with a wide range of customers, where some of our customers have four employees and others have 400, there will be minor changes. Everybody usually has a regular network, then a VLAN for guests, but sometimes our larger companies have VLANs for labs and other sections of the business: for example maybe development and admins get more rights. We always make sure the antiviruses, the IPS, filtering are running with a basic number of rules.

    Don't over think the implementation. The biggest thing that you can do is start overthinking when you're setting it up, and be like, "Well, what do I have to do next?" You're probably already done. It's real simple. Anybody could take the manual home if they've never seen it before. They have a complete 30-day demo that you can download. Even if you aren't hooked into the Internet, you can log into the web GUI and look through it. It's great because it gives you an opportunity to do that and play with the product. If you're a technical person, you could take the manual home for the night, then the next day set one of these things up.

    What about the implementation team?

    We always deploy it by ourselves, I think anyone with some IT experience could do it. I mean its not for Grandma but if you understand routing you can do it.

    We're rolling out a four location non-profit right now that pretty much had zero network infrastructure. We're bringing our third site on out of four next week. Getting the firewall up is the easy part. It's been more of tying in their computers to the rest of the network and stuff, but eventually we're going to replace this hodgepodge of laptops and emailing files with central shares backed up and secured with the proper permissions all through the VPN.

    What was our ROI?

    Once customers get into doing site-to-site, employee remote VPNs, they start seeing savings in travel time and time costs. When everybody talks about savings, a lot of people forget to think about, "If my employees have to individually mail a bunch of files to somebody else, spend time trying to access files, or getting somebody in the office to send the files, that's a lot of time spent," this is where giving VPN capabilities both site-to-site and for end users who usually can't afford them is a giant cost savings, being able to seamlessly work remotely, include roaming employees who are able to go site-to-site and access the same resources at any location.

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

    It's generally inexpensive compared to a lot of other products out there.

    We don't use the solution’s high-availability/failover protection. For our market, it just hasn't been something that's been worth it for the cost. Because the software can run on both the Kerio hardware as well as regular off the shelf computer hardware, we've actually just maintained a standard computer with some extra NICs in it or a microcomputer as a backup. So, if a box goes out, we just run out there, pull the backup file off the web (since it is backed up through the MyKerio portal), and push it to the box, then we can have them back up in an hour or two. We can then worry about a permanent replacement once the client is back up. 

    The biggest advice that I could probably give people is when you buy the solution be prepared to buy a few extra licenses if you want a guest network but you don't need to go crazy. Each user license gives you one employee and five devices. In the world nowadays where everybody has a cellphone, tablet, desktop, and laptop, that's still four devices and you still get one more device per person to cover the company printers, servers, etc.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We do evaluate other products both before we choose Kerio Control and on a regular bases. We do have one or two smaller firewall product that we use for the true entry-level businesses who don't need any capabilities, and we are constantly seeing products as we get new customers and what products they are using currently. We don't like to rip them out right away until we understand the network and its issues, we have to get familiar with a customer before we can make a recommendation.

    Vendors are always coming out with new things and there are always new features. True cloud management seems to be the big buzz right now, so we've been looking at those type of products. However, so far we keep going back to Kerio Control.

    A lot of times I can do things in one screen of Kerio Control that would take two to three screens. I was just making a firewall rule with NAT forwarding on a different product for a customer a couple of days ago and that took four different screens and four different menus. One of the nice things about Kerio is how it does firewall rules and port forwarding.You do it all-in-one screen called "rules" where It creates the forwarding, the NAT, and the port holes.  

    With some products I'd have to go into a window to create a firewall rule of VLAN 1 to VLAN 2, then I have to create a firewall rule of VLAN 2 to VLAN 3. Finally, I have to create a firewall rule of VLAN 1 to VLAN 3. That's three separate firewall rules that I have to build. If I want to block one port, then that's three separate firewall rules I have to edit. On Kerio Control, the way it's setup, I can make one rule that encompasses all three of those rules by having my source have multiple sources, multiple destinations, and multiple ports. For example, a security camera system needs three ports forwarded to it. I might have to create three rules and 3 NAT translations, one for each of those ports. Some of them I can group, but others you can't. With Kerio firewall, I can list all those ports in one spot. Therefore, I can create a rule that allows the WAN and VPN 2 to access a camera system on VPN 3 on these two ports and point it all to the Camera System using only one rule.

    It is not the most powerful firewall out there, I understand that, but it's a great balancing act between the capabilities. It's as capable as many of my other firewalls, but at the same time, it's not as complicated. You don't need to take a three-month course like you do with some of the other products in order to be able to use it properly. It's all GUI-based, unlike some products. Sure a lot of products have a GUI where you get just so much done, then at a certain point, you have to jump into command line. There is no command line option in Kerio Control because its not needed, there isn't a point where I have to pull out a manual and find obscure commands to type in to get the product to do something I want it to do.

    What other advice do I have?

    It's definitely well suited for and marketed for SMBs but could some enterprises use it? I believe that they could. I believe that there are some spots in the enterprise market that should be looking at this product. I think that some companies would be pleasantly surprised if they considered it for enterprise market use. 

    It's inexpensive and secure enough that you could have multiple instances running across a campus, if you needed to do routing. It supports a ton of VLANs, especially if you put it on your own hardware. You can easily have this thing run thousands of users just by scaling up the hardware because it has the ability to run on standard PC or Server hardware so you can pop it right into a computer and boot it up. This is great because you can choose any amount of hardware that you want to put it on to get it to scale to what you need, and you can upgrade it as needed. It's also great when you do have virtual environments.

    The company has always been pretty good to work with, which is important. Obviously, GFI's a much bigger company than the original vendor, so some things have changed, but they're a friendly company and want to work with you. They have a nice NFR program. We always like products that have NFR programs, not because we're always looking for free stuff, but because it's nice to be able to use the same equipment inside that we sell to customers, even if it doesn't make sense for us financially (though Kerio Control makes sense for us). Just having that capability to say, "Hey, we use this product ourselves." It's a question that customers ask IT companies a lot, "What do you use?" So, if I can say, "I use Kerio Control." That goes a long way to making the customer understand I really like this product. I trust my business to it. You can trust me when I say, "You can trust your business to it."

    I would rate the product as a nine out of 10. I've never heard a customer that went on it be upset. I have never had a customer tell me, "I want to get rid of this thing."

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller.
    Flag as inappropriate
    PeerSpot user
    Andy Dibble - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT Manager at Flare Technologies
    Real User
    With VPN, any of our guys can log in to the system and effectively be on board; helps with our customers all over the world
    Pros and Cons
    • "One thing we use quite a lot, as well, is the DHCP Server, because we do a lot of work where all our devices need to have static IP addresses. Rather than going around and configuring every box, we do it all through DHCP reservations. It's easier. We've got a record of it. We can manipulate it if we need to change something or change some hardware. It's all easy. Even guys who are not used to using it can pick it up quite quickly."
    • "There's also room for improvement in the Traffic Rules. We define networks to use a specific outgoing interface, say VSAT, shore, or marine WiFi, which is okay. But then all we have is a checkbox that says "Use other internet interfaces if this one is unavailable." What we would prefer would be to have a priority list. So if VSAT is unavailable, try to use 4G, etc. We haven't really found a reliable way of doing that in the current release."

    What is our primary use case?

    Our main customer base is superyachts, and they have the Kerio for traffic rules and bandwidth management of the various networks on board. They can optimize traffic for crew versus owners and guests, the VIPs that might be on board. They also use it for bandwidth sharing. They usually have a mixture of the VSAT satellite internet and 4G internet access. Sometimes they have WiFi, for example if they connect to a WiFi hotspot in a marina, as well as shoreline or fixed DSL. They use it to manipulate the internet traffic, so they can say the crew uses the slower VSAT and the guest gets the fast 4G or shoreline.

    They also use it to see what's going on. If the boss complains that the internet's slow, they can quickly see if someone is downloading a load of updates or streaming Netflix and they can block them. They just want to have control, as the product name suggests, over the internet traffic.

    In-house, we use the NG300, but because we are a partner, we use various hardware platforms. At the moment it's nearly all the NG series, the 100, 200, and 500. The most common that we use is the NG500. I'm interested in using the next-generation, which is due out in the next couple of months, but I've also used the virtual Kerio platform on a VMware hypervisor.

    There's a virtual appliance, but also software installed on a Windows PC. We build our own virtual "guest" on a host, we've done a couple of those, and then attached it to a switch with VLANs, so we've covered all platforms.

    We have these Kerios on anything from a 30-meter Sunseeker, with five or six crew members, four guest cabins, and a couple of master cabins, or a master and a VIP. They might have 20 guests so there would be a total of about 30 users and some 50 devices for those users. There is also all the AV equipment. And we've gone right up to a 120-meter superyacht, with 50 to 100 crew and space for about 200 guests. We've also got a couple of ski chalets, and a private island in Ibiza. A few hundred users is its top end, but as far as network-connected endpoints go, it could be in the few thousands of devices.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The way it improves the way our company functions is through the VPN, because we offer support services. Normally, we would have to rely on TeamViewer to a computer on board, or to get on the phone and tell somebody to take pictures or press buttons, where we can't see what's going on. 

    In the last year or two, after setting up the VPN, any of our guys can log straight in to the system and they are effectively on board. That is a big help because our customers are all over the world. They could be in Ibiza one day, but then they're heading to the South of France and then they're going off to Greece or crossing the Atlantic. Sometimes it's difficult to send somebody out to them quickly. They might not want to pay for somebody to come out. It could be two or three days of round-trip travel for a half-hour job. The VPN makes it more efficient. We can jump in and see what's going on. We can mimic our engineer's being on board the vessel via the VPN. That's the biggest benefit. And it's instant. Someone rings me up and I've got a single VPN connection and I can get to their networks.

    What is most valuable?

    The most common feature is the Traffic Rules, so the users can define which network or which users access which internet interface. But bandwidth management and content filtering are also commonly used.

    With the Traffic Rules we define all the different sources, such as various user groups or network interfaces for the crew. And we show them that if they want the guests to access 4G internet, this is how they do it. They're defining who gets what, in the Traffic Rules. 

    If they've only got a single connection, and everyone's sharing it, then they would jump into bandwidth management and prioritize the boss, but also allow the crew a little bit of internet, just to get by, for WhatsApp messages and emails. 

    Content filtering is to stop malicious content. They don't want people accessing the various categories in the filter. The default is usually pretty good for them, things like BitTorrent, downloads, and sharing, but also the more "adult" parts of the internet.

    It gives our customers pretty much everything they need in one product, in terms of security features. It's a firewall, but generally for what they want, it works.

    What our customers like about it is that it has a nice interface. It's been around in the yacht sector for a long time. I was introduced to Kerio by the yacht customers. They were saying they want this firewall and I hadn't really heard of it. They're usually comfortable with it because it's a familiar interface.

    By default, the firewall stops everything coming in but allows everything going out. For everything we've needed, it's done the job. If we've needed to open something up or block something we've managed to do it.

    We also use the VPN quite a lot. We have an NG500 in our data center and we actually create a VPN tunnel between and our data center and each of our current customers who have a Kerio. Technically, it's one-way because they don't talk to each other via VPN. All the customers are separate, but as a support company, we can VPN from our laptops to our data center and from there we can access all our customers' networks. That is handy for us because we can log on to their IT switches or their AV equipment to offer support. We also use it for delivering email for some customers, whereby because they don't always have a guaranteed fixed IP address, we give them one, in a sense. We have a pool of IPs in our data center. All the mail hits their assigned IP address and is sent over the VPN to their email servers on board.

    We also have some third-party subcontractors and we can give them access to specific customers. We can give them an account on our firewall and through our own traffic rules we can allow them or deny them access to specific customers and specific parts of that customer's network. Because they're hitting the central point, we don't necessarily want them to access all our customers. The customers themselves don't often have a big, remote-work environment because the crew is either on board or off. But we have seen a small increase in customers wanting to use VPN to access files on board, and during the COVID outbreak some of the ETOs (electronic technical officers) and the technical guys have not actually been able to get to the yacht, physically. So we've set them up with VPN so they can actually continue to do certain work. When we first started using Kerio we never really used VPN. Now, pretty much every Kerio we supply gets on the VPN.

    The ease of use of Kerio is very good. Everything's there, once you know where to go or how to find things. One thing we use quite a lot, as well, is the DHCP Server, because we do a lot of work where all our devices need to have static IP addresses. Rather than going around and configuring every box, we do it all through DHCP reservations. It's easier. We've got a record of it. We can manipulate it if we need to change something or change some hardware. It's all easy. Even guys who are not used to using it can pick it up quite quickly.

    The learning curve is pretty quick. It helps if someone has a general IT understanding of networking, for certain aspects. What we don't always have on a customer's site is somebody who is familiar with all aspects of the Kerio, such as interfaces, VLANs, and IP subnetting. They don't always understand DHCP, what it is and how it works. They pick it up pretty quickly, but it usually helps if someone has at least some knowledge of IT and networking. Normally, though, we find it's quite a decent balance because they will do what they want to do after a little bit of training. Anything else they'll leave to us or they'll ask us the question, and then we can either do it or go and figure it out and then come back and do it.

    What needs improvement?

    Sometimes it might not be detailed enough, or it might have more details but the customers just don't know where to look. The issue is usually when it comes to specific packets. Sometimes they find it slightly difficult to see exactly what's going on.

    For example, we had a customer who was using the content filter. They tried to block Facebook using the web filter categories, and in combination with that they wanted to always require that a user was authenticated before accessing web pages. What would happen was that even though they had the content filter enabled to block social networking — Facebook may even be a category — it still allowed them to get in through mobile apps. If they went to the website, it would prompt them for login and then it would deny it, but they would get into the app and they weren't even logged in. That might have been an HTTPS issue and the way that the app was talking, rather than an actual website or what page. We always managed to find a way around. They'll come to us with a question and then we'll figure it out and usually they're happy enough with that.

    There's also room for improvement in the Traffic Rules. We define networks to use a specific outgoing interface, say VSAT, shore, or marine WiFi, which is okay. But then all we have is a checkbox that says "Use other internet interfaces if this one is unavailable." What we would prefer would be to have a priority list. So if VSAT is unavailable, try to use 4G, etc. We haven't really found a reliable way of doing that in the current release.

    Finally, the customers sometimes want to use the VPN link for outbound traffic. But at the moment, it appears that there is an all-or-nothing solution, so either everything uses the VPN and breaks out at the remote site or nothing does. The simple example is for the email system we've put in. We can direct traffic in over the VPN, but we'd also like to send that same email traffic out of their server over the VPN to break out on a specific IP address in our data center. We would like to see a little bit of functionality in prioritizing of internet interfaces.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Kerio Control for about 10 years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is good. 

    There have only been a couple of occasions where we've had high RAM usage of the Kerio, where it may be a more complex network. What we found is that over the course of a week or 10 days, the RAM utilization would slowly increase to a point where it would be 100 percent usage and then you couldn't do anything with the box. You would have to physically power it off. 

    We do have cases open for Kerio with GFI and they're looking into it. Apparently there is going to be quite a big software update coming soon, which will change the backend workings. That's hopefully going to make a big difference, but the problem has only happened in one or two cases. Other than that, it's generally pretty solid.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    If you've got a hardware appliance, then you are generally limited to its own specifications, in terms of throughput and power. That's what you've got. If you start hitting that, then it's time for a new box, or you need to look for something else.

    On the NG500 you can increase the RAM slightly and you can also increase the storage space.

    But there is no way of changing processing power. So you have to specify the right box. You can increase physical network interfaces if you want to. You attach a switch to it and scale it that way if you need more physical interfaces. We haven't needed to do that. Or if you wanted to have fibre connections; you would have to attach it to something else. 

    It would be nice to see SFP slots in new hardware, which I think is coming in one of the models. 

    Overall, you'll hit a point with the box where you can't really scale any higher. But if you've got a virtual appliance, if you want to give it more processing power you can. If you want to give it loads of memory or storage, I would find it quite easy to really scale it up in terms of hardware resources.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    Technical support is pretty good. They're quick to respond. You get an answer straight away, although it might not be the final answer. 

    I have learned a few things from contacting support, things that I probably wouldn't have ever found out just researching online or playing with it myself. 

    At the moment, the particular questions we have are a bit more complicated than just, "How do I configure this traffic rule to do this job?" We've got a problem with RAM being utilized and we don't know why, and I had to send them system logs. I've had to do full system resets, complete erase and recovery. It's a bit tricky. It's more development-type work rather than user support. I think they're holding back from really getting involved with that because they are developing the new system. At the moment, our workaround is just to reboot the box every two weeks, which is inconvenient, but if they're going to solve this, then we just have to wait.

    How was the initial setup?

    The setup is straight out-of-the-box. Take it out of the box, run through the wizard, configure it with the settings that you should already know, and then it works and you get in online. That's the basic setup, because the Traffic Rules, by default, allow everything out and stop everything coming in. That's enough to just get online.

    You then go to start defining your networks and your traffic rules. Putting multiple VLANs in there is easy. Even as it gets to be a more complex configuration, it's easy to do.

    Sometimes it's time-consuming if it's a large configuration, but that's just what it is. It takes time to click boxes if it's a large network with lots of different scenarios, and to type in all the IP addresses.

    But it's easy out-of-the-box for a basic configuration and still fairly easy if you've got that knowledge of the Kerio and networking. Just a little time-consuming. If there were some kind of import or bulk add, that would be nice, but that's on a wish list. It's really not that necessary.

    If a customer just wants something out-of-the-box, we plug it in, make it work, and it probably takes a couple of hours, at the most. If it's a bit more complex, it might take a day. It might take longer if you don't know what you're doing.

    I've always told customers that there is no fixed configuration. This thing will work and do what you want it to do. As time progresses, it evolves with the changing requirements. So we can give them a solution. They can give us some key config points telling us "Okay, we want this many networks and we want these users, and these particular rules," etc. We configure all that  in a day and test it the next day. After that, it's ongoing. They might decide, "Oh, we actually want to change the bandwidth allocation," or "We've got a new internet interface," or we want to block Facebook at a specific time. It's ongoing.

    What was our ROI?

    We have definitely seen return on investment with Kerio Control because it would take us a lot longer to fix something in a lot of support calls we get. We might be stuck on the phone for four hours just to try and talk someone through something that we could fix in 20 minutes, because they're not looking in the right place or they don't see something that is relevant. Whereas, we've been able to use the VPN through Kerio, so we can sometimes fix a problem before they've even finished describing it. It has definitely helped us a lot.

    Kerio's VPN has easily saved us 50 percent, maybe more, in terms of time spent on support. We're connected in seconds. We can see things quickly. We can be connected to five different customers at once through a single connection.

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

    Pricing depends on the requirements. The more powerful boxes, like the NG500, are more expensive on licensing terms, depending on how you license them. At the moment, the NG500 doesn't have an unlimited user option. I believe they took it away, although I might be wrong. 

    Figure out how many users you're going to need because there's no point in configuring or licensing it for 200 users "just in case," when you might only need 50. It's obviously going to cost you four times as much. 

    There is an option to have GFI Unlimited, which is their all-in-one licensing model, which includes Kerio Control. It works for hardware boxes as well the software virtual appliances. Depending on the number of users, it might be more beneficial to go for GFI Unlimited. It can work out cheaper.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The other real experience I've had is with Cisco ASA, Palo Alto, and WatchGuard. 

    The Cisco was more complicated and people didn't really like it because it was a more complicated interface or it seemed more complicated for them.

    The WatchGuard and, from what I saw, the Palo Alto are good firewalls; some would say better as firewalls than Kerio. But they don't have all the other features and they didn't seem as easy. They may have more specific options you could set in the actual firewall rules; you could drill it down a bit further. But my experience has been pretty limited, so it might have just been that they looked like they did more, but in fact they just looked more complicated and only gave the impression they would do more. But these devices didn't have all the features of Kerio like the users, the groups, domain logins, bandwidth management, and content filters. They were just firewalls.

    Generally, our customers are all small to medium, if you were to compare them with a typical business. They're not "enterprise" technically, even though they do run a lot of enterprise hardware, like full Cisco networks, etc. They just don't really have the same configuration. They've got the budget, but they just don't always want to spend it. I think Kerio could work in an enterprise. A lot of the time, it depends on who is running the security and what they prefer and what is approved by any governing bodies.

    Kerio seems to have a reputation, for some people, not to be a true firewall. It's just a feeling that people get, but that's biased towards what they prefer to work with.

    On the same price point, you can't compare them. If you're looking at a Kerio box that might be £3,000 a box plus a year's license every year, versus our £100,000 security system, you can't really compare them. But for devices and hardware/software in the same price range, I wouldn't knock it back for something else.

    What other advice do I have?

    Regardless of whether you get a box or virtual, the interface is nearly always the same. There are very few changes between versions. Research what you think you're going to need. Don't just buy the biggest box or the most expensive box because you think it's going to be better.

    The biggest lesson I have learned from using this solution is that you don't always have to be onsite to fix something.

    The malware and antivirus features are pretty good. We generally have other malware and antivirus protection as well. A lot of the time, things come in via email so we do have services from Symantec, which filters that out beforehand. Very occasionally I have seen a false positive, where it's blocking something that's actually allowed, but then I can usually figure it out and just allow it. When I've seen something has been blocked or someone has reported they're trying to do something and they can't access or download a file, I can quickly see in the logs that something has been blocked because of the antivirus detection. And I've managed to go from there, allow the file.

    One feature we haven't used yet is the solution's high availability failover protection. It's something that I've not even tested myself. I was interested in it when it was first announced, but I was reading about it and a few people said that some of the early implementations were a little bit buggy. I have a feeling it's gotten better now. But I've not used it and no one has asked for it either.

    Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Silver Partner with GFI
    PeerSpot user
    Buyer's Guide
    Kerio Control
    July 2022
    Learn what your peers think about Kerio Control. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: July 2022.
    620,319 professionals have used our research since 2012.
    Liam Bartlett - PeerSpot reviewer
    IT & Installations Manager at Odyssey Gaming
    Real User
    Top 5
    Good value and I haven't had to reboot one of the devices in the field
    Pros and Cons
    • "It has saved a lot of time and it was a secure way of doing it too. We had a whole contact center that worked from home for a period of time and that's a 21 hour a day contact center that we moved, that was spread out across the greater Brisbane region and working on home internet connections. Surprisingly, we didn't have a lot of stability issues anyway on those connections, but Kerio didn't blink, so that was good."
    • "If I would suggest anything, it would be to expand on its multifactor authentication to be a little bit more user-friendly. They should do multifactor authentications for the client itself perhaps, rather than served on a webpage, in a page hijack, that might be more user-friendly, but I don't have a lot of complaints about it. It's doing its job. You have to have a certain amount of skills to configure these things anyway, the ones that we use on-site doing point-to-point, and we've been tricked up a few times with their interfaces."

    What is our primary use case?

    Kerio Control is the primary firewall for our corporate network to the outside world. We use an IP transit that connects to an IP transit, so all the internet traffic in and out of the corporate network goes through the Kerio Control firewall. We use Kerio Control VPN Clients for our remote workers to dial into that corporate network with two-factor authentication.

    We service all areas of Queensland in Australia and we've got clients from Thursday Island down to the border. We have regional sales guys, agents, and technicians throughout the state that require access to the corporate network for various reasons and that's how they get in. They require access for our call logging system and all that sort of stuff. It's the primary gateway for that. Apart from that, we also run Kerio devices in the field to do point to point VPNs.

    We've had very few problems with the VPN features. Once we've set it up, it's pretty functionally user-friendly in terms of the firewall functions that we need to open and close ports on. Our users don't have a lot of problems with it. We've had to reboot it occasionally, but nothing extraordinary. Just standard maintenance rebates. Other than that, it just does the job.

    We about 60 users that have access. Concurrently, there's probably only 10 concurrent users at only one time. Because of COVID, there's a lot more remote work going on. It would have been busier over that time, but I haven't actually looked at the stats since then. I know that it worked well and we didn't have any issues. Which is a nice thing not to have to worry about when there's a lot of other things on your plate.

    There are only two of us that would really get in there and reconfigure the firewall. Most of the time we'll run that past TechPath anyway, just to make sure that we're not going to punch a hole. We don't intend to. In terms of checking problems, checking logs, in terms of people management as well, seeing who's been logged in, who hasn't, it's very easy to get online and get onto the device and do from anywhere. It's very easy and flexible to use.

    Prior to Kerio, we couldn't uncover that data. Prior to Kerio, we were using a hardware device but it didn't have remote access or any of those features. It was something we had to do on-site and it wasn't very user-friendly. It wasn't something that management could do if they wanted to and yet this one's pretty easy if they had access.

    How has it helped my organization?

    The main example of how Kerio has improved my organization would be through the COVID shutdown in terms of just being able to scale. It scales very easily to users that weren't normally remote workers. The fact that it scales well at very little trouble to scale with the amount of users on there, and then to have no issues over that period with increased usage, it did the job. The less I know about it, the better it's doing.

    It has saved a lot of time and it was a secure way of doing it too. We had a whole contact center that worked from home for a period of time and that's a 21 hour a day contact center that we moved, that was spread out across the greater Brisbane region and working on home internet connections. Surprisingly, we didn't have a lot of stability issues anyway on those connections, but Kerio didn't blink, so that was good.

    What is most valuable?

    We turned on two-factor authentication just after the shutdown when we knew we were going to get more users using it. That was the only feature that I've used recently that was different and it worked fine. You only have to authenticate once every 30 days, once you've fully authenticated. It was easy. Technically, it's not a full implementation. It's two-factor on every login, but it's certainly more secure than it was.

    In terms of the comprehensiveness of the security features, I know that we haven't had any breaches before. We've had security issues before but it hasn't been with the data center implementation. We have a technology partner that we use to consult for configuration and Kerio was their number one recommendation at the time. We've never had an issue since implementing that. While it works, it's not an issue for me. Best to our knowledge, we haven't had any data breaches.

    We do a lot of audits in terms of data security. I don't know if that's ever been an issue here because a lot of our production stuff is actually walled off from our corporate network so it's of lesser risk factor. We were regulatory. We're a licensed regulatory body as well. We monitor gaming machines throughout the state. A lot of our security and the production network is a lot higher than our corporate. Not that corporate's not high, but there are a lot more freedoms for the user under the corporate network umbrella anyway. But it does what it needs to do. We haven't had an issue with it. The most we've had to do when we've had an issue is upgrade the VPN Client's software.

    Before using Kerio, with another software, we did experience security breaches. Not so much with a firewalling product. We've had issues with breaches of user breaches. So phishing attempts and so forth. Just the general user stuff, but not through the corporate firewall. And honestly, we didn't handle all of that previously. We only took that on board about six or seven years ago when we changed ownership. So a lot of our services are in the cloud these days as well. Office 365 and so forth.

    In a roundabout way, its security features played a role in our decision to go with it. We rely on the advice of our consultant and the consultant recommended this configuration, this software, and this appliance. So, it was more about the appliance. It was more about the flexibility than what we needed to do in a data center environment as well, to be able to manage it remotely and securely. It's been very easy to manage. 

    The consultant was TechPath. TechPath is very good. I have full faith in TechPath. They're an MSP and we've just used them as a consultant when we initially set up our wide area networks and the security around it. They have good guys there. We don't have a lot of network engineers in what we do. That's their job. That's why we use another consultant.

    Because it's all ID integrated, it's very easy for a user to get online step by step. And in terms of the actual configuration of the firewall itself, it's an intuitive interface if you know what you're doing, in terms of logging traffic, spanning, and the rest of it. The logging is fine. 

    Remote work has been increased by 100%. We would have had around 25 - 30 remote users. That's probably increased to 60 over the shutdown, including contact center staff. That'll scale back a little bit as people come back into the office, but overall, people don't stay connected during office hours, it's more of an as-needed basis. We still only have 10 to 15 concurrent users, but in terms of licensing, we have under five concurrent users at any one time before that. There was an increase, but it was not a resource-hungry increase. We said to make sure the licenses were sourced in advance.

    What needs improvement?

    If I would suggest anything, it would be to expand on its multifactor authentication to be a little bit more user-friendly. They should do multifactor authentications for the client itself perhaps, rather than served on a webpage, in a page hijack, that might be more user-friendly, but I don't have a lot of complaints about it. It's doing its job. You have to have a certain amount of skills to configure these things anyway, the ones that we use on-site doing point-to-point, and we've been tricked up a few times with their interfaces. That's been more of an experience thing as well, you have to have some networking experience to understand what you're trying to do when you set up these things, whereas it could be a little bit more user-friendly, wizard-based.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I've been using Kerio Control for six years. It was introduced to us by a previous sister company. We started some of the systems that we took over that were using Kerio Clients and so forth.

    We use it primarily to get into our corporate network through a data center appliance. So our off-site workers use Kerio Control VPN to get into the corporate network. We have a private data center space that we use for our production network as well. It's the primary gateway into our corporate network from remote workers. It's a private cloud. We've got our own rackspace in one of the data centers in Brisbane. And then we've got connectivity that lands in the DC to allow satellite sites.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability has been very good. I can only think of one or two occasions where we've had an issue and a restart of the firewall seems to bring it up again. I don't think I've ever had a major issue with it at all.

    The high availability and failover protection haven't been that critical for us. The stability of it has been so good that we haven't needed to look at it. Because of the use case, an outage doesn't affect us as much as if it was a production network. And TechPath would be on standby with other hardware if we needed or with assistance. So we never really looked at the high availability stuff.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    In terms of scalability, we did not see any limitation for the amount of users that we increased to. We had to add some licensing once we evaluated how many end users are going to be in the end but that was very quick as well. I think that came through in a day or two. We just added in the licensing to it and there we went. It was very easy to do. If there was a huge increase in numbers, as in if the appliance itself might need to be increased, but it's actually a virtual appliance anyway so resourcing is not that big a deal. We can increase the resources pretty easily.

    Whether or not we increase usage depends on users. I don't think we'll exceed what we've currently grown in the last six months, based on the fact that everyone's currently working remotely. We don't have real plans to expand at this stage but it's nice to know that we can.

    I would consider my company to be an SMB. We have 110 staff. Our company is part of a larger group of companies called the Federal Group. Our business unit is 110 employees, and we're fairly self-sufficient in that respect, but the Federal Group of companies is 1,800 employees and we run a number of different businesses around the country, hospitality businesses, casinos, cape transport, trucking companies, that sort of thing. For our size, definitely, it's worked flawlessly for what we needed it to do.

    A lot of the IT is within the Federal Group. We've only actually been part of them for just over a year now. They have their own technical services group and a lot of those guys are hardcore Cisco nuts. They're based in Tasmania, which is the other end of the country for us. It's hard to get anything done when we've got to chase someone on the other side of the country. They've desegregated the business unit, so we can manage our own internal business decisions on that infrastructure. But I wouldn't be surprised if they did use Kerio in some form, I know that a lot of those guys are gold plated in what they do.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I haven't contacted their technical support. If there are any issues then I get a network engineer guy first and see if he can take care of it.

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

    We have used SonicWall and I've also used Ubiquiti around the place a little bit, but nothing on a production level. We've played around with Ubiquiti internally. We used to implement SonicWall at our customers to do some deep-end firewalling on their gear but now we're mostly using Kerio devices at the moment in the field as well.

    Our systems supplier became our sister company. We got bought and converged in a vertical integration, and then we got divested again. We checked the systems, and the staff from our sister company got taken away to our opposition company. SonicWall was something that we inherited and we weren't really familiar with its use. I was familiar with Kerio's configuration, so we moved to a Kerio device to do the same job.

    How was the initial setup?

    For our main firewall, the setup was fairly complex at the time because we had multiple internal networks to deal with. We had test environments versus operational environments. We had a lot of rules we wanted to put in place for corporate, so it was complex. It wasn't confusing in terms of how to configure it, but it was fairly complex. 

    We started off focusing on corporate first. This was the least risk and then we moved our production phases over to that as we were confident in that we were secure and connected up correctly, so to speak, or the data center configuration was the way we needed it to be. Then we did a little post-testing in the configuration, not just with the firewall and stuff, but overall with penetration testing.

    The deployment didn't take very long. TechPath took care of most of it. In terms of the site to site stuff, we do that fairly regularly. It might take an hour to configure devices, but it's not onerous. You've just got to make sure you get the settings right. The setup required a few engineers from their end, myself, and another employee. 

    We do maintenance once a month and it requires one person. It doesn't quite a lot of maintenance because we just give it a courtesy reboot more than anything like we do with a lot of our gear. We just make sure that the updates are up to date, from time to time.

    What was our ROI?

    I have definitely seen ROI since the shutdown. Given its stability and its function, it certainly hasn't slowed down our ability to produce in a diverse environment especially with the contact center. A lot of what they do is hybrid Software as a Service, telephony, and all the rest of it, so having corporate access was key to be able to do their jobs. We went from a very secure, regulated on-prem environment to a diverse working from home environment overnight, and Kerio was key to that.

    I never had to go out there and try and find an alternate solution because Kerio just did the job. I don't know how long it would've taken or how much it would've cost, but it certainly would have been at best, a minimum of setting up a much more permanent type of secure connection from each user's premises. It would have been a lot harder to do.

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

    I didn't even blink at the price but I can't even remember what it cost. It was pretty reasonable. The cost was very affordable. We just ended up licensing our own because we didn't know who was going to be working remotely at the end of the day. I think anyone that had a chance to work at home, they got the license. It wasn't a factor of having to do to a view and make sure that every user absolutely needed one. It is a very affordable solution.

    There are no additional costs to the standard licensing that I know of. We maintain the highway that it sits on and obviously the data center space and there might be transit and costs and that sort of thing associated with it, but not with Kerio itself. 

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We didn't really look into other solutions. We were using MikroTik routers to do some of the work, but not really. Rather than learn SonicWall, we just switched to Kerio, because we we're familiar with the interfacing.

    What other advice do I have?

    The biggest lesson I've learned from using Kerio is that you can quite easily and securely diversify your network security and access without compromising on cost and central control. Since this all comes down to is that it's all centrally controlled, I have confidence that the users were accessing our systems remotely and securely.

    We have used the Kerio Control appliances to do point to point VPNs at the customer sites quite a few times now, and that's the one we recommend. Customers have been using Ubiquiti and have issues so we replaced them with Kerio appliances and they seem to work great. They're moderately priced, good value, and I haven't had to reboot one of those devices in the field yet. These things run point to point VPN for some pretty business-critical functions, such as wide-area gaming systems that transfer money between venues. I haven't had any issues.

    I would rate Kerio Control a nine out of ten.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    Private Cloud
    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    Freddie Lewis - PeerSpot reviewer
    Solutions Architect at Clockwork Solutions
    Real User
    Geo-blocking enables us to know where our traffic needs to come from but the antivirus is a bit laggy
    Pros and Cons
    • "The top features are ones that we're not using yet but we soon will be because we've just had broadband upgraded in Australia. We've got something called the National Broadband Network, which is forced onto you, so you have to take it when it arrives. We'll be trying the high availability out soon. We tried that with some load balancing, it didn't quite work as we expected, but I think that was more of a configuration thing rather than a product thing."
    • "The antivirus seemed to be a bit laggy on the connection so I disconnected that. It's definitely good. The only issue we've had with any sort of cyber attack seemed to be coming from a couple of distinct locations, people trying to get into known ports on remote desktops and stuff like that. The fact that we can block all that traffic is just great. It simplifies it."

    What is our primary use case?

    It's the Edge firewall for my business. I'm a small business IT consultancy and I'm subcontracted out to a larger organization. It's really just me working from home, which is a bit more permanent now, but we do have a couple of other side projects I work on with a couple of other partners. One of them is a financial trading solution, so we want Kerio to beef up the edge security to make sure that the solution itself was secured nicely because it meant building out a rack of a couple of rack-mounted servers and beefing up the solution. 

    Being an SMB, we do find that Kerio fits our needs. It fits nicely in that space because any time that I've been to an enterprise it's pretty much dominated by Cisco products. A product like this probably wouldn't get much air time to get in the door of a really big organization, whereas a small to medium-size enterprise where they're big enough to have some sort of IT presence, it would probably fit in nicely. With an enterprise that's my size that doesn't have an IT presence, then they'll probably use some sort of managed service solution.

    We wanted to beef up the firewall and not just run off some sort of IoT style firewall that's built into a modem. It didn't seem to be adequate for our needs. So that's where we went into Kerio because at the time, we had some remote desktop services running and we were getting a lot of attempted cyber attacks coming out of China and a few other places. Kerio was one of the few that could actually geo-block, which was really quite handy.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Its primary job is to protect us and give us a degree of comfort. We're putting a lot of effort into creating a financial trading system. We want some comfort that it's secure behind the quality firewall and that's really what beckoned its purchase. The fact that we've not had any issue indicates that it must be doing that job reasonably well, and the fact that we don't get any of those attempted attacks from the block in China, because of geo-blocking, is probably the strongest feature for us. I wouldn't say it improves what we do because it doesn't affect what we do. It's really just security.  It's a tool to improve our security profile for what we do.

    We don't expose our remote desktop connected servers to the internet anymore. But when we did have that, because the security log is a really easy thing to set up, it would show you all the attempted, brute force attacks. That's now down to zero. We don't get any brute force attacks, but at the same time, we don't expose the Port 3389 out to the internet. We could achieve the same result with a domestic firewall in a domestic router. However, this gives us a degree of comfort that we can actually analyze any traffic that looks a bit suspicious, inbound, or outbound. That's a definite step change compared to what we'd have in an out-of-the-box type of router.

    Security is there to slow things down and make things a bit tricky. That's its bottom line. If security is easy, it's probably being done wrong.

    Certainly in the first few months of using it, it was quite time-consuming to get a configuration working that was reliable. Because I work from home, I originally had it protecting everything coming in and out of the home which didn't work well at all. It's protecting the home office and the server environment. Everything else just goes straight out of the domestic router out to the internet because we've got IPTV, with kids on devices. They don't need such a high level of protection. It would be nice to give them that because if you've got this perimeter that's protected by a really good quality product, you want to protect everything.  But when we tried that, it seemed to struggle with the high volume of traffic that was being generated by the IP cameras, the IPTV service, and the myriad of devices and iPads that we have in the house. So we stopped using it for that purpose.

    What is most valuable?

    The top features are ones that we're not using yet but we soon will be because we've just had broadband upgraded in Australia. We've got something called the National Broadband Network, which is forced onto you, so you have to take it when it arrives. We'll be trying the high availability out soon. We tried that with some load balancing, it didn't quite work as we expected, but I think that was more of a configuration thing rather than a product thing.

    The geo-blocking is essential because the partners we deal with are typically either in the US or Australia. We know where our traffic needs to come from and we don't post anything publicly that the general world needs to see. It's just a few discreet services that need to be hosted on this financial trading stuff.

    The integration of Active Directory is very good as well. We don't use the VPN service. We use VNC. We get mixed results from the QoS, but that's another good feature. Really, dashboarding, track, and monitoring are the most important features for us as well.

    We are about to test the high availability and failover protection because one of the issues we have is the device or the Hyper-V host seems to need a regular rebooting, which isn't an issue directly in itself, but it would be nice if it could do that on its own. We can't find a feature to do that. That's the complaint I'd have of that and the HA might solve that problem for us. So we'll give that a go.

    Out-of-the-box, the overall comprehensiveness of the security features is pretty good. It's not just a firewall, it's kind of a firewall proxy, reverse proxy, everything out-of-the-box sort of solution. It's pretty comprehensive. I can't imagine wanting anything else, because for me as a consultant, it's not just about protecting the environment. It's also about having something that's commercial-grade because when you go in as a consultant, you need to be exposed to these tools and you need a lab environment to test these tools out. This is as close to a good commercial tool that you could possibly ask for.

    In terms of the availability issue, I've considered that there are hardware options as well, which is nice. We're not sure if that will be an improvement over using Hyper-V, but that's to be decided.

    What needs improvement?

    The antivirus seemed to be a bit laggy on the connection so I disconnected that. It's definitely good. The only issue we've had with any sort of cyber attack seemed to be coming from a couple of distinct locations, people trying to get into known ports on remote desktops and stuff like that. The fact that we can block all that traffic is just great. It simplifies it.

    The last time we used the antivirus, it seemed to slow down some of the connections. I didn't dig too deep into it, we just turned it off and it seemed to rectify the problems. It's hard to say whether it was that directly but it seemed to be creating a bit of overhead on the connections.

    The reliability is its biggest downfall. I don't expect to be rebooting a product like this every couple of days. In fact, it's become a start of day thing just to reboot so it doesn't let me down in the middle of a team's call or something like that. It's quite slow as well. I could be on a team call and it would drop the connection. Then we'll get a warning that we've got poor call quality and as soon as you restart the device all the problems go away. There's clearly maybe some sort of memory leak problem or something in there that's affecting its reliability.

    We've just had our national broadband network connection today, which is a high throughput connection. We will be reconnecting the entire household through the device, to see how it copes and we'll see if it improves anything.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Kerio Control for two and a half years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    If I came across a client that was a small to medium enterprise, I'd probably recommend it, but a lot of them have a solution in place now anyway. It's hard to get those opportunities for new business in that regard, but I reckon it would probably scale quite well. I'm at 25 licenses, but that's only because we have so many devices in this house. It looks like it probably would scale. As I said, with that level of reliability, that probably would be an issue if you wanted to scale 100 to 200 licenses.

    We did try the proxy feature, but once again, that failed miserably. It ran well for a few weeks and then it died on us, and it was really quite hard to diagnose what had gone wrong. We turned it off and went back to a previous configuration which was a bit disappointing. It comes back to that reliability, whatever it is that makes it conk out is clearly a problem.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I used support once or twice when I hit the first license ceiling. I did log a support ticket in. They were fine. There were no complaints from that. They offer 24/7 support, via email. I don't think I actually phoned them up. It's pretty good. There are no real issues there.

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

    We tried a few different Windows-based products. That's how we found Kerio because it offered a Hyper-V solution and it also offered a hardware solution if you wanted. I'll try the software one first and see where we go. There were a couple of other products we used before. Originally, we used to use Microsoft, the ISA server back in the day because that got swallowed up by Fortinet and we didn't touch that. 

    There was another Windows product, WinGate. That has a really bad reliability problem. It would stay up but the connections were very slow going through that thing. Maybe it was poorly configured on my part, but it just seemed to be incredibly slow at managing the connections. We'd notice a very latent response from web pages and it never, even though it had a massive caching there for caching pages, it just seemed to never be as quick as bypassing the WinGate software. That wasn't virtualized. That was running on a native Windows server at the time so that was really quite poor in terms of performance.

    How was the initial setup?

    Given that it's a Linux deployment, the support it offered, like giving you a Hyper-V client out-of-the-box, is fantastic. It's a really clever idea because you're not then left with a painful configuration of spinning up some sort of Linux host and then trying to do an installation. The fact that it comes pre-packaged with Hyper-V images was a very smart and clever move because that made it a lot easier to get it going if you like. Getting that up and running was quick, it was just a configuration, and finding the right configuration was the hardest part.

    The deployment was less than half an hour. It was very quick to get it up and running and get it operational. It was just fine-tuning that configuration to suit my environment that took the time, which I would expect of any device, no device is going to come out-of-the-box and just work like magic unless you've got a really simple environment. Whereas I've got a home environment, where it's just me as a small business, but I've got that many servers and hosts running.

    Our strategy was to take it out-of-the-box and get it working.

    The setup was pretty easy. The external remote control was really good and simple. It gave extra manageability on the road which was good. It was pretty straightforward.

    In terms of maintenance, it's just me. In terms of my time, it doesn't take much time at all. I'll hardly make any changes to it. Now it's running fine. The only next thing I'll be doing is trying out the HOA.

    What was our ROI?

    With security, I don't think you can calculate ROI. It's not easy to call a return on investment with security products because anything security that's done properly is going to be a cost overhead. That's by its very nature. If security is quick or cheap it's probably wrong. I don't look at it as a return on investment, I see it as security. A bit like saying if I bought a new car and they said, "I can save you $500 if you say no to the airbags." For 99.9% of the time, you'd be saving $500, until one day it costs you lots of money and maybe your life. I see it the same way.

    It's not an optional extra, it is an overhead that you have to pay if you want to secure an important asset. You've got to weigh up how important that asset is against how well you want to secure it, and that's where you say, "Well, it's going to cost you the price of a Kerio license, the price of a VNC license, sort of remote management. And that's what it costs to manage and secure properly those services." I'd say we've achieved that. It's hard to really put a return on investment with security.

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

    I think it is a bit on the pricey side, but it's okay. I've got 50 licenses which I think is $250 a year or something like that. It's not terrible. It's actually cheaper than what we pay for VNC. We probably could save money thereby utilizing the Kerio VPN and not VNC. For a firewall proxy solution, it's probably a bit on the higher side price-wise.

    We have to provide our own Hyper-V host to spin it up or buy the Kerio hardware, but otherwise, there are no other costs.

    What other advice do I have?

    I'm experienced in networking, but I'm not a network engineer per se, I'm more software development. The fact that I was able to get it set up and going with minimal fuss was definitely a plus for the product. I've seen products before where you can get them running, you make the slightest configuration change, and the whole thing comes crashing down. It's quite a stable product in that respect and it does look after itself quite well. For example, risk proxying solution and buying a GoDaddy certificate to secure a couple of APIs was a piece of cake. It really didn't hurt us at all. I think the important lesson there is, if we had tried to do the same thing with a NETGEAR sort of a firewall with a built-in firewall product, I think we would have had a hard time. Kerio definitely has made it easier.

    I'd say give it a look for sure. I'd totally recommend it.

    I would rate Kerio Control a seven out of ten. If I didn't have to reboot it so often, then it would probably score a nine.

    It's not a cheap product and it's not a particularly reliable product at the same time which tends not to be a good mix. Something like this should be able to cope with my entire household, every device I throw at it, and it should be able to cope with that fine. It clearly didn't two years ago. We'll try it again in about 24 hours and we have to hook up this high-speed connection to it and we'll see how well it performs there. Reliability is about the only qualm I have with the product.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    ICT Consultant at D-R Consulting Pty Ltd
    Consultant
    Users on the network are confident that they are in a safe and secure network. You can't assign WiFi channels to the VLAN on the low-end device.
    Pros and Cons
    • "One very good thing about the Kerio device is its authentication. I don't have a Windows domain for authentication. Instead, I use the Kerio product because it can separate users by Mac addresses and give them IP addresses based on their usernames, automatically logging them in. This makes for a very simple authentication system."
    • "One area that confused me a bit when I was building my current network. I use VLANs to have separate functionality on the network, and the appliance I got was the WiFi model, but I discovered that you can't assign WiFi channels to the VLAN. So, you can have WiFi, but its own subnet. You can't run that over the VLAN. Effectively, I can't use the WiFi facility in the appliance and had to purchase a separate web that supports VLANs. In the end, I had to go to GFI support. They confirmed this is just a limited functionality of that device, as it is a low-end device. I don't know if any of their high-end models have a better facility or not."

    What is our primary use case?

    For a small office, I'm using it for a firewall. This is the most obvious primary use, along with: 

    • The Web Filter subscription for content that gives a bit of protection to users on the network when going to sites with known malware and so on. 
    • The Antivirus module, which is good at scanning anything coming through, giving us a first line of defense. 
    • Some other features in there, like VLAN. I have quite a few VLANs setup for keeping things separate for a build network and so on. 

    I have the hardware appliance on-premise. However, I do use some of the features, like MyKerio cloud, for remote administration and backups. These are hosted on the Kerio site.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Knowing users on the network are confident that they are in a safe and secure network and can't really hurt themselves.

    What is most valuable?

    It's a combination of authentication, internal network DNS, filtering, and antivirus. It is a standalone product which has a lot of the features that a Windows domain might have. However, I don't need to have a whole lot of Windows or Mac infrastructure, as I can do all my network management from Kerio.

    One very good thing about the Kerio device is its authentication. I don't have a Windows domain for authentication. Instead, I use the Kerio product because it can separate users by Mac addresses and give them IP addresses based on their usernames, automatically logging them in. This makes for a very simple authentication system.

    The solution’s firewall and intrusion detection features are pretty good. I have, at different times, connected directly to the Internet in bridge modes with the modem, and the noise in the logs is phenomenal. So, it does a good job. I can see that the intrusion prevention catches everything that is coming at it. I tend to not use it in that mode. I have it connect to a port on my modem router, so I let the modem router take all the initial intrusion noise, then not much gets through to Kerio. That just gives me a lot of confidence that I have a secure network.

    For the content filter, I am pretty much running their default. I haven't added any rules to that myself. The default does a pretty good job at picking up things. I might have whitelisted one or two things that I use which it tends to pick up, but I know they are okay.

    Kerio Control gives us everything we need in one product. 

    The feature that I'm relying on: If the appliance died and I had to get another one, Kerio has a configuration backup. Therefore, it's pretty easy to restore to a new appliance.

    What needs improvement?

    There are some pros and cons to its performance when dealing with malware and antivirus features. Maybe once a month, I have gone to a website and it's being blocked. This is because it's a known malware site. So, I feel confident that those filters are doing their job. On the down side, occasionally when iOS devices go to the App Store to do their application updates, it will pick that up as a possible virus in a file: a false positive. This only happens on the iOS updates and the antivirus signatures.

    One area that confused me a bit when I was building my current network. I use VLANs to have separate functionality on the network, and the appliance I got was the WiFi model, but I discovered that you can't assign WiFi channels to the VLAN. So, you can have WiFi, but its own subnet. You can't run that over the VLAN. Effectively, I can't use the WiFi facility in the appliance and had to purchase a separate web that supports VLANs. In the end, I had to go to GFI support. They confirmed this is just a limited functionality of that device, as it is a low-end device. I don't know if any of their high-end models have a better facility or not.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I first used this solution when it was a piece of software called WinRoute. That would have been around the year 2000. I've been using the product in its various forms for quite a long time.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The stability is pretty good. It ticks along nicely. I occasionally have to reboot it. It starts throwing strange errors on different clients. There was a period where Kerio was releasing software updates at least once a month, which would force the reboot, but I think kept it pretty tidy. Over the last year, their updates haven't been very regular. When it gets to running for about 60 days or so, it does get a little funny and the reboot sorts it out. I don't know what's going on there and why their updates have slowed down.

    A good thing with the Antivirus module is there are probably six or seven dozen updates every 24 hours to the antivirus signatures. Therefore, they do a pretty good job of keeping at the head of the game.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It is a very low-end device. I am using their base model appliance, so it's a very small piece of hardware with fairly low-end specs. Given the broadband connectivity that we have in Australia, which is pretty poor to start with, that's not really an impediment to me. Moving data around across the land and subnets seems to work fine. 

    I have about three users most of the time and each of those users can have three devices. Then I have various servers and audio visual equipment. I'm probably up to about 20 or so IPs that could be used, but not everyone and everything is running at the same time. It seems to cope with the traffic I'm hitting it with.

    Our users are mainly doing email, web browsing, a little bit of streaming, and a little bit of Zoom. There is not anything terribly intensive.

    I probably utilize 70 percent of the features. I don't do things like VPN. I don't do anything with quotas, forcing people to log in, or bandwidth management. However, these are good features that would help some people.

    I am not looking to increase usage at this stage. I know that if I did, it has those extra features that I could use. If I started pushing the performance, then I would need to upgrade to get some bigger hardware. I probably can't increase my usage too much at the moment because the hardware would max out.

    To get one little unit and configure your whole network is good. It's also good too for a bigger business where you have a network and a small office somewhere. You could drop one of these in that office to run everything, as it's set and forget. You also have the remote administration of the appliance, which would be quite handy to a lot of businesses.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I found the technical support pretty good. They are very responsive and come back with an answer on things pretty quickly.

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

    I have been using Kerio Control for quite a long time. I didn't use anything else previously.

    How was the initial setup?

    It has a wizard to sort of get it up and running very quickly. I think I did start with that, then went into the manual configuration for setting up VLANs and DHCP scopes. They were fairly straightforward to set up. 

    It's a product that you can get up and running pretty quickly. Then, if you want to get into advanced configuration, that's what takes a bit more time.

    Out-of-the-box, I had something running in an hour or two, but that's probably because I've been using the product for quite a few years. I know what to look for. But as for the advanced configuration, that's days of work. It's ongoing with the administration and tuning the network. I spend maybe a couple of hours a month just making sure everything is configured and working correctly. The logs are pretty good too. It's good to keep an eye on the logs as it gives you an indication if anything's wrong or if things are going haywire.

    You need to have a pretty good idea of how you want to structure unit work and what you want your network to do, especially when you want to set up things like authentication. You need to preplan your subnets and IP address ranges for different users so you can then map them to the user accounts. If you're going to a new organization and setting this up, then there is a bit of work in planning all that and what you want the device to do.

    What about the implementation team?

    For deployment and maintenance, it takes me few hours here and there.

    What was our ROI?

    I have definitely seen ROI. It has saved in client software acquisitions, such as, antivirus or any dedicated security software. In my configuration, I haven't needed any Windows infrastructure because this device does all the network management for me. So, it has saved me from buying software and some amount of hardware. It gives three or four people antivirus, which is probably about $500 AUS a year just in client security software that I've saved. Plus, there are servers I haven't had to buy, which gets pretty expensive, especially with Windows licenses.

    Kerio Control saves us time when it comes to managing security. Otherwise, I would have to invest in software running on clients, which get frustrating.

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

    On the low-end device that I use, it has unlimited IP addresses. So, they have a subscription model where, on the higher models, you pay X dollars for 10 IP addresses. Then, if you want any more, you have to pay more on the model. On the low-end model, it has unlimited IP addresses, because if you have too many users, the thing will just slow you down and stop working. At some point, you need to say, "Okay, I've grown to a point where performance is impacted. I need to get some bigger hardware." If I get to that stage, I will possibly look at using one of the virtual appliances and putting it on some bigger hardware.

    It gets expensive pretty quickly if you need to purchase license packs. In the previous model, I was buying packs of five. It was concurrent: If you had 10 address licenses, then you can have as many devices as you want, but if you hit 10 devices, you hit your license limit. People will get frustrated. They do appear to be expensive, but I don't have anything to really compare that against. I've not done any market evaluation for quite some time, because my model has unlimited addresses, so I haven't had to think about that.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    The comprehensiveness of the security features this solution provides is the reason why I have stuck with them for so long. It has all the features that I need, and I haven't had to go and buy separate products. However, there are competing products that have a lot of these features in them. I did toy with the SonicWall product for a little while. SonicWall, who is a subsidiary of Dell EMC, offered an appliance, but it didn't do the internal network DNS nor was it good at authentication. I think the Kerio products are more rounded for running a small network out of a single appliance and not needing other infrastructure. SonicWall was frustrating because it didn't have a lot of the features that Kerio had.

    SonicWall was my first foray into appliances. Up until that point I had been using the Kerio Control software edition. I liked the idea of appliances. If you're running something on a PC, you need to have a PC running, along with fans and hard drives spinning. Your appliances, even though they're lower spec hardware, are small and quiet. At the time, SonicWall was a fair bit cheaper, but that was how I discovered it was a false economy. It just didn't have the pool of features in it that Kerio had, so I would have needed to have a number of work arounds.

    Looking at Cisco's documentation, they look a bit more complex to set up than Kerio Control.

    What other advice do I have?

    The overall ease of use depends on your skill set. I have a networking background, so I find it okay. As you get into more advanced features, it's probably a bit technical, but I managed to find my way around it through the documentation to get things working. It has some good features in there, like you can create a firewall rule and the console lets you test that rule, which is helpful when you're trying to build a firewall rule.

    One of the features that I haven't used yet is Kerio Control's high-availability/failover protection. However, it is something I would be interested in setting up in the future. We have started using it yet because we are small scale with a very small number of users.

    Provides the simplicity of having a small appliance that you can rely on to configure. If someone wants a network that can be structured to keep things segregated and safe from each other, then it's a cost-effective device, which is easy enough to set up and configure.

    I haven't had any security issues. However, back then, I would have been relying on an antivirus, running on clients, hoping that it would catch things.

    I would rate it as a seven out of 10, but then I don't have a lot of experience with other products to compare it against. Though, from what I see and read, it's as good as anything out there. Everything is good. However, I'm a little bit concerned that I'm not getting a lot of updates. Probably if I needed more performance, it would get expensive fairly quickly.

    Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

    On-premises
    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    Arie De Kruijf - PeerSpot reviewer
    EMP Specialist at Global EPM BV
    Real User
    Top 5
    Can be used with our customers' certificates; they can see their connections are properly secured
    Pros and Cons
    • "The firewall and intrusion detection features are very useful these days because hackers have a lot of tricks that they use to get into a system. With Kerio Control you can see something that's happening. Otherwise, you have to use other tools to see what's happening on the firewalls. Having IPS in it is quite useful for us."
    • "The VPN features are the ones that we really like, but we are using a VPN client to be able to use them. We would like to have an SSL implementation for this same feature so we don't need to install anything on the client side. That's a feature I really miss and that should really be embedded in the product. We really would love to use it via a web browser."

    What is our primary use case?

    We're using Kerio Control to protect our solutions in data centers and to provide VPN access, via the firewall, for our clients.

    We're EPM specialists, we host and build EPM platforms which are financial software platforms used by large entities all over the world.

    How has it helped my organization?

    Where previously users were connecting via exotic firewall systems with no certificates on them, Kerio Control can be used with the certificates of the customer so that customers can also see that their connections are being properly secured on the sites that they are using. That helps them identify their sites and to distinguish their connection from other connections.

    The solution has increased the number of VPN clients extended to those outside our environment. All our clients that we need to visit have a VPN solution. And the ones that we host in the data center are only accessible by a VPN client.

    What is most valuable?

    The VPN connection is the feature that we are actually using this solution for, but routing and checking what kinds of sites are being tested or accessed, is also helpful. That can be logged and reviewed to see if everything is going okay. It's for protection of the network behind it.

    Kerio Control covers quite a lot, when it comes to security. There are, of course, always things missing in a product that you would like to have, and we have even questioned the vendor to see if they can provide one of the solutions that we would like to have in the product, but that does not seem to be the case at the moment. But for us, it covers almost everything we do with it, which makes it quite a suitable product for us.

    The firewall and intrusion detection features are very useful these days because hackers have a lot of tricks that they use to get into a system. With Kerio Control you can see something that's happening. Otherwise, you have to use other tools to see what's happening on the firewalls. Having IPS in it is quite useful for us.

    What needs improvement?

    The content filtering in the product is pretty sensitive to configure as all content is being scanned. It can take quite some time to find out what content you want to scan. For example, if you use words for scanning content, there are some words that you really can't scan for because they are synonyms and can be used in all kinds of communications. Therefore you get false positives where it finds the word, but it's actually a case that you should ignore. That makes it a bit difficult to use it.

    The VPN features are the ones that we really like, but we are using a VPN client to be able to use them. We would like to have an SSL implementation for this same feature so we don't need to install anything on the client side. That's a feature I really miss and that should really be embedded in the product. We really would love to use it via a web browser.

    Another area for improvement is to be able to import users from a single text file. That functionality is really not developed enough and it is not easy to bulk-import users into a firewall. 

    Finally, if you use a firewall product with a certificate, you can only use one VPN client on one domain name. So if I would serve multiple clients with one firewall, I cannot use different domain names. For example, if I put in the domain name test.com as a certificate name in the firewall, then all users, even if they are using it from different companies, have to use that certificate name as their client settings. That's really not appreciated. We would like to set up a firewall with unlimited users and use it for multiple smaller customers. Those companies use a service from us and we could use one firewall for that, but we can't, simply because we can only use one certificate. We can't use the name of the company with other companies. That's a lack of a feature and we miss it.

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    The product works well. We seldom have issues with the product, hardware-wise or software-wise, and we have firewalls that have been running for more than a year without even a reboot. The only reboot they get is when they need an update.

    When they went from Kerio directly to GFI, GFI implemented some new software solutions in it and did some things their own way, which helped to make the product a bit safer than it already was. These were improvements that were really needed and we wanted as much as we possibly could get, and therefore are much appreciated.

    The NG100, which is the lightweight firewall — and it can do pretty much the same as the large NG500 — has an external adapter and that has broken at least three or four times, and that's a problem. Even for those little firewalls, an adaptor should not break. It's probably because of heat dissipation or the like. We don't have this problem with the NG300, which also has an external adapter, but it's a bit different and a bigger adapter. The NG500 doesn't have that problem at all. It has an internal power supply and there's nothing wrong with it. We have never had one fail, so far.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    As it has an unlimited number of users that we can use it for, we haven't reached the limits of the product. It's a really fair product.

    Our customers use it every day. We will increase usage of these firewalls if we have a customer for it.

    How are customer service and technical support?

    GFI's technical support is way too slow in terms of response times. Their knowledge is okay. They should know their products. Even though they bought Kerio, they were able to update the software with their developers and build some new routines in it.

    But regarding the support, if I send out a solution or a request today, it's taking too long to get a proper answer. You should have an answer the same day, at least, and if possible a quick response via email. That would be preferable in our cases. I know that is not always possible. And that's for software issues. 

    But if you have a hardware issue it's even worse because we are not able to get hardware maintenance on the firewalls. Ideally, within two hours of going down, a mechanic would come with a new firewall to replace it and to restore your saved configuration from the cloud. They don't have that. If a hardware issue arises with a firewall, then it takes at least a week, maybe a week-and-a-half, to get a new firewall sent by GFI. That's really not acceptable. If we have a hardware issue and we order something from some companies here in The Netherlands, we have it the next day. That would be acceptable.

    We deal with that by having a spare NG500 lying around that we can use. We've never used it, so it's already three years old, doing nothing. But it's there.

    How was the initial setup?

    For us the initial setup is straightforward because we have been using it since the product was called WinRoute, which was 20 years ago, I believe. We pretty much know all about the firewalls and what we can do with them. So the setup for us is really easy to do.

    On average, deployment of Kerio Control takes us maybe 30 minutes.

    The implementation strategy depends on what the customer needs, and every customer needs something else. In general, the VPN setup is one of the things all customers need, and rules settings, open ports and closed ports, are part of some basic settings we use, but pretty much everything else is different for each customer.

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

    Where we were using, for example, a VPN solution for 75 users, GFI has now changed the contracts to use the unlimited version, and that is a bit cheaper price-wise, compared to having 75-user account licenses.

    But it's pretty expensive in licensing costs, especially if you use the product longer than one or two years. The licensing costs are still high, which I don't think is reasonable for a product like this.

    The licensing should really be narrowed down and be at least one-tenth of the price. To give you an idea of costs, an NG500 costs about €3000, and the licensing costs are about €1400 to €1500 a year. They call it "maintenance," but they are not doing anything in terms of maintenance on my firewall. They just supply a little update and those updates really don't cover the price that they calculate for it.

    By comparison, if you know what a Windows 10 workstation does on your local computer, you get the updates for free and the price of the installation is something like $100, and you can use it as long as the product is supported. That's a reasonable price, and it also has security. 

    With those licensing costs for a little firewall, it's really disturbing because people look for different solutions when the price is too high. You can't make money off of it if you need to pay almost €1500 a year just to get the updates, and those are basically firewall updates. Of course, if there is a system update, like firmware, they will implement that as well. But it doesn't match the cost of what they are doing for us with it. It doesn't explain why these licensing costs are so extremely high.

    As long as the product works we use it because we know the product. It's much easier to use an existing product than to swap over to a low-cost product that we are not familiar with. That is one of the reasons we use this product, but mostly because we never had a breach, which is, of course, pretty important now.

    Everybody has a price when it comes to security. You can use a simple Windows Firewall on a virtual machine, which costs you almost nothing. And if you put the firewall on there and use it as a router, you can also connect VPN clients to it, but you're using the Microsoft solution for that. Kerio is based on a Linux kernel, which is pretty much free and they are asking a lot of money for a firewall because it's called a firewall and it should protect you. But in fact, they cannot guarantee that nobody will ever get through your firewall. Nobody is giving that guarantee to you, and that is why it's too expensive.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We have also worked with Cisco, FORTRESS, and Juniper. One of the main reasons that we're using Kerio is that the interface is really simple to handle. It's really laid out well.

    I don't like the Cisco interface. In the old days, we had to do everything manually via the console; type in all kinds of stuff. Now, you just want to click something.

    What other advice do I have?

    Each implementer or solution specialist needs a product that fits the needs of the company or customer. That's totally dependent on each customer. If you have never seen a product like Kerio Control, it's still quite easy to implement the firewall. They're not too complex.

    Not every customer wants to install a VPN client to get to a different network. Some of them want to have a browser solution where they just enter an address and they type in a username and password, even verified by a two-step verification. If they are verified and authenticated, they can use the different networks. I believe we had that kind of functionality in previous versions of Kerio, even when it was called WinRoute, but they took it out. These days, everything is being arranged by a browser but I understand why they took it away from the browser. It's because of the security flaws that are mostly in browsers and they're never up to date.  It doesn't matter whether you're using Firefox, Chrome, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, or Edge. They all have their things that are not working correctly. There are vulnerabilities in all browsers.

    The biggest lesson I have used from using Kerio Control is that I would choose the NG500, the rack model, over any other model they have, as that has proven to be the most stable version and the most stable product. It just runs forever.

    We are using three of Kerio Control's models. The NG100 is for really small solutions where you just need a firewall with VPN capabilities. They have a bit of a larger model, the NG300, which is suitable for faster solutions. And we have the enterprise solution, which is their fastest firewall, the NG500, and that's a rack model firewall.

    The antivirus helps people who are uploading files, so that they are scanned. That's not what we are using it for, but our experience with the internal firewalls are a bit different because you can also use an external firewall in the product itself. And now it comes with Defender, which currently works well. For what it is scanning, it's working fine.

    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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. The reviewer's company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
    PeerSpot user
    Head of IT at Glorious Way Church
    Real User
    Keeps our public and private networks separated and protected from any intrusions from the outside
    Pros and Cons
    • "In terms of the comprehensiveness of the security features, it does a great job of laying out what it does. It's fairly easy to edit and research. Some of the features were turned on by our IT company and I was able to easily find other features on my own by searching for videos on the internet. I've been able to block certain websites, and content filter, as well as manage some of our bandwidth because we live stream on Sunday. I'm able to dedicate bandwidth for the encoder that goes to the internet. It always has enough bandwidth, no matter how many people are on the network. That's really helpful."
    • "There were certain things I didn't know about it, but I've always been able to just contact our IT company. They've been able to walk me through certain things. It was quite a monumental task to set up a public site. Support really had to help me with setting up the VLANs and walk me through it. It was not possible for me to figure that out on my own, but that's what they're here for. That could have been a little bit easier laid out."

    What is our primary use case?

    It's the firewall and the router for our network. That includes both the public side and our private side as well.

    How has it helped my organization?

    We were having issues with feeling more secure. Keio Control has made me feel like our network is more secure. Also, the VPN feature was easier to manage and assign to different users. There's no more downtime with our VPN. It just works.

    Kerio Control has saved time for the members of our team who manage security.

    We've increased the amount of clients that use VPN. It's very easy to manage and very easy to setup. All we have to do is set them up with an account and then download the software to their computer. It just works. There has been a 50% increase.

    What is most valuable?

    The intrusion prevention is good. I like the fact that it's always up, it's always secure, and it never lets us down, never locks up. It just works.

    As a firewall, it keeps our public and our private networks separated and also from any intrusions from the outside. 

    In terms of the comprehensiveness of the security features, it does a great job of laying out what it does. It's fairly easy to edit and research. Some of the features were turned on by our IT company and I was able to easily find other features on my own by searching for videos on the internet. I've been able to block certain websites, content filter, as well as manage some of our bandwidth because we live stream on Sunday. I'm able to dedicate bandwidth for the encoder that goes to the internet. It always has enough bandwidth, no matter how many people are on the network. That's really helpful.

    It provides us with everything we need in one product.

    Because of the reputation of Kerio as well as all of the great things my IT company recommended, it's easy to trust a company like this for our intrusion prevention and for our security. It's really easily laid out and it just works.

    The malware and antivirus features keep themselves updated once it's turned on. You don't really have to worry about anything. It scans all the incoming email and it scans for web traffic. It just works in the background. You don't even know it's there until it finds something.

    The VPN feature works great and it's secure as well. I'm impressed with the speed at which it works and how easy it is to access over the VPN.

    What needs improvement?

    There were certain things I didn't know about it, but I've always been able to just contact our IT company. They've been able to walk me through certain things. It was quite a monumental task to set up a public site. Support really had to help me with setting up the VLANs and walk me through it. It was not possible for me to figure that out on my own, but that's what they're here for. That could have been a little bit easier laid out.

    For how long have I used the solution?

    I have been using Kerio Control for two years. 

    What do I think about the stability of the solution?

    It's extremely stable and the uptime is incredible in terms of how it stays connected, and we have had no issues in over two years of using it.

    What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

    It can scale and grow as we grow. It has very impressive features. It is a little bit of overkill for what we use it for. But I think it's worth it. I really do. I don't mean for it to sound like a negative. I chose it on purpose, even though I knew it was a little bit more than we needed. Because of the security features and because of the reputation that it had coming from our IT company, I really saw no other option.

    Only I manage the device and I'm head of our IT department.

    We have roughly 10 VPN users and 20 or so computers. Then we have at least 75 to 100 devices that connect to it at one time on a Sunday. That connects to the internet and it's able to handle the traffic and the bandwidth management perfectly.

    It's more than adequate for our size of business. I know it's made for larger companies than ours, with more employees. But it works very well for us and it's easy to manage. It's robust and very consistent. 

    How are customer service and technical support?

    I've only had to use technical support once and it was on a VPN. They updated the VPN protocol and I had a question about it. They immediately got back with me. It was easy to deal with them. They immediately had the solution that I needed.

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

    Our previous solution was off-brand. We upgraded because it did not have enough bandwidth to support our faster internet speeds. That's the real reason why we upgraded. It was not able to have a VLAN and a second LAN for our public site. That was another reason why we upgraded. We didn't feel it was as secure as Kerio.

    How was the initial setup?

    The initial setup was straightforward, with the exception of the VLANs, and setting up a second LAN. Other than that, it was straightforward.

    The deployment took two hours. 

    The IT company went through and showed me all of the settings and gave me a tutorial on which features I needed to use and how to turn them on and what they meant. As far as the rest of our office staff is concerned, they just needed the VPN protocol setup. I was able to do that on my own because that was really straightforward and easy.

    They set it up for me. They plugged it in for me and then explained all of the features to me and helped me set up some of the features. I was then able to easily find videos online and some instructions to set up other features that I wanted, like content filtering.

    Having seen the process, I could easily do it again without their help. I just needed a little bit of a push from them.

    What was our ROI?

    We have seen ROI. 

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

    I would encourage other people that when considering pricing, you really have to think about how important your network security is and how you're going to save time in the long run on managing your network. It's worth buying a product that's top-notch and the best quality. Your network is worth it and your employee's security is worth it.

    Which other solutions did I evaluate?

    We also looked into Ubiquiti UniFi system and decided to go with Kerio.

    Kerio ended up being a much better solution. 

    What other advice do I have?

    I would rate Kerio Control a ten out of ten. 

    Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
    PeerSpot user
    Chris Bristow - PeerSpot reviewer
    Account Manager (Technical) at Redfortress Ltd
    Real User
    Top 10
    Provides good content filtering and failover, but licensing is becoming too expensive
    Pros and Cons
    • "The firewall and intrusion detection features are good. It has blocked certain things. We have a lot of blocked sites that the staff or anyone using it, the public, etc., can't go on. It works for that. I get quite a few messages every now and again, saying that a virus has been detected and I can go in and block the user who's causing the problem."

      What is our primary use case?

      We use the Kerio Control as the firewall, and we manage all the load balancing for it, as well as DHCP, bandwidth control, failover, and basic reports.

      How has it helped my organization?

      It has saved time for the members of our team who manage security, because everything can be done from the Kerio. If a problem arises or something needs changing, we can just put it into the same rule that we already have or make a new rule, a duplicated rule, which is quite easy  to do.

      What is most valuable?

      The most valuable features are the 

      • firewall
      • load balancing 
      • bandwidth control
      • routing.

      We need these functions. We need to do what we do and then the Kerio is quite intuitive in terms of getting everything set up and managing it after. It has quite a nice UI which is fairly straightforward.

      The firewall and intrusion detection features are good. It has blocked certain things. We have a lot of blocked sites that the staff or anyone using it, the public, etc., can't go on. It works for that. I get quite a few messages every now and again, saying that a virus has been detected and I can go in and block the user who's causing the problem.

      In addition, content filtering is good. We use that a lot. In terms of the content filtering we use all the basic ones that it already comes with, like phishing sites and peer-to-peer. We only use the VPN a little bit, for admin purposes, to go in and administer the other equipment onsite, like the switches.

      The comprehensiveness of the security features Kerio Control provides seems good. And it seems to just work. I don't really get down into the detail of it too much, but I'm happy with what it picks up. We haven't really had any problems.

      It is easy to use. We've never really used the wizards that are provided. We had a guy come in and set it all up for us in the first instance and then we built upon it by just using what he already did as a template, to do other things. But it's pretty straightforward.

      We also use the failover. We have two internet lines going into it, and it works. We have a loss of connection at the minute because of a problem with BT, our ISP, so it has gone over to another line. It keeps our security going, which is good.

      For how long have I used the solution?

      We have been implementing solutions with Kerio Control for our clients since about 2016.

      What do I think about the stability of the solution?

      The stability is very good. I don't think it's ever failed. 

      We had one time where there was an update, a couple of years ago, and it changed a setting for the failover and load balancing. As a result, we almost needed to roll back to a different version. We ended up finding the right setting. But that was the only thing that's happened really. Apart from that, they update fine.

      What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

      For the sorts of things we do, we'd only ever really need one Kerio in any one location. Scalability is beyond the Kerio, for what we do.

      We have about 150 users of the solution.

      We don't have plans to increase usage. It's been the same for about four years now and I think it will stay the same for at least another one or two. In the place where it's installed it's being used very extensively. It's the endpoint for the whole network so everything in the company ends up going through it.

      How are customer service and technical support?

      I've never used their technical support.

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

      We did not have a previous solution.

      How was the initial setup?

      We hired a guy to do the initial set up for us. I think he was a Kerio reseller and we used him for consultancy before it started and then he actually did the work on the Kerio as well, and the network in general.

      Our experience with him was excellent. We've used him a couple of times since. He's brilliant. His knowledge of everything is incredible. We tried to do it all ourselves at first, but he came in and knew exactly what the problems were. Something that had taken us about four days, he did in five minutes. He's just incredibly knowledgeable about everything to do with networks: Cisco, Kerio, everything.

      I've set up another one since, for the same company. I just copied the configuration file of the one and put it straight onto the other. They're in separate buildings, but they wanted them exactly the same so it was really easy.

      That deployment took an hour, but it was because we already had one set up.

      As for deployment and maintenance of these solutions we generally need just one person: me.

      What was our ROI?

      The return on investment is the fact that the network keeps going. In that respect the ROI is good. But the licensing fee seems to be getting too expensive. I wouldn't say it's a waste of money, because it's required, but it would make us look at the possibility of using another solution in the future, if it keeps going up at the rate it is.

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

      It's too expensive. The license, in the last year or so, has gone up by over £100. We're almost being out-priced by the annual license at the minute. If we do need to change, it will be because of the annual license fee, and we will have to get a different solution.

      Which other solutions did I evaluate?

      Ubiquiti is cloud-hosted. We use a lot of those as well. If that was around at the time, in the same way it is now, we probably would have used that to start with.

      What other advice do I have?

      A solution like Kerio Control is a nice-to-have for a medium size business. It just works. It does what it is meant to do. The hardware itself isn't too expensive, it's just the licensing fee that has gone up and up every year.

      I would recommend it. My advice would be to get a professional for the implementation.

      Overall, I would rate the solution at seven out of 10, because of the licensing, and there are other things on the market now that are probably as good.

      Disclosure: PeerSpot 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.
      PeerSpot user
      Buyer's Guide
      Download our free Kerio Control Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.
      Updated: July 2022
      Buyer's Guide
      Download our free Kerio Control Report and get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions.