Astaro joins free IT security software industry to boost profile

Known as Essential Firewall, the IT security software is being offered free of charge to end users who are happy to receive support via the web and a growing user forum base.

Gert Hansen, Astaro's chief security architect, told Infosecurity that the reason why Astaro is offering its IT security software for free is that a number of potential clients for the company's paid-for security offerings, including appliances, are wary of replacing their existing security systems with new products.

"Even when we offer them a free trial, they are reluctant to go down this route, as it involves replacing all their existing security software for something that is effectively unknown", he said.

"By offering a version of our software for free, we generate a higher profile in the industry, with the result that the IT manager says - `ah yes, I know your product, I've used it at home', or is happy to try he software on a number of his PCs before committing to an appliance", he said.

According to Hansen, whilst `trialware' - which offers users a free trial of a security application - has its place in the market, the freeware model often works a lot better, since it raises the vendor's profile a lot more.

Hansen said that the Essential Firewall IT security software offers the same interface and facilities as Astaro's paid-for software and virtual appliance, but users will be supported through the Astaro user forum.

"If users want higher levels of support, then they can get this, by only by upgrading to the paid-for versions of our software", he said.

Despite the IT security software being free, Infosecurity notes that it supports many of the features that rivals offer on their pay-for applications, including a stateful packet inspection firewall and network address translation (DNAT/SNAT/Masquerading).

The software is available in two flavours: software appliance and virtual appliance.


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