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9/1/2006
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Review: Palisade Systems Protects Against Insider Threats

The technology's filtering system can be used to block unauthorized applications such as Skype and instant message clients, as well as dangerous text such as Social Security and credit-card numbers.

Most of the security tools on the market are targeted at keeping the bad guys out, and they do a very good job at just that. But what about the bad guys that may be on the inside, better known as the insider threat?

Solution providers need to address that issue also. Palisade Systems aims to equip the channel to combat the threat with a powerful tool in the form of its PacketSure appliance.

PacketSure is a network appliance that uses deep packet inspection technology to protect private data and control the flow of data on the network. PacketSure monitors TCP/IP or UDP traffic either passively or inline and blocks traffic by protocol at the edge the network.

Palisade bundles in a default set of more than 140 customizable signature-based rules to drive the filtering process. In most cases, security administrators will create additional custom rules based on keyword matching or extended regular expressions to manage specific traffic. When content is processed that meets rule criteria, the appliance can then take the action specified by the rule: log, block, or allow.

While rules-based packet control is nothing new, Palisades takes a new approach by using intelligent wizards to build policies that are used to allow or block traffic based on applications. What's more, PacketSure is designed to enforce compliance regulations, in other words, it keeps private data private and backs up that claim with comprehensive reports.

Deploying the appliance is a straightforward process. The unit is usually attached at the main entry point of the network or inline between the primary network switch and subnets. The product's ability to monitor all traffic and applications gives administrators real time insight to what is occurring on the network. That traffic can be logged and then used to build policies. Its ability to block applications is a real bonus when administrators are looking to shut down unauthorized traffic.

For example, a policy can be defined to block applications such as Skype or IM clients or even VPN clients. The granular control given to the administrator translates to usable power in the form of network control and compliance. There is an additional benefit offered by application control and that comes in the form of increased available bandwidth. By blocking unauthorized applications, network managers recover bandwidth that otherwise would have been sapped by those applications.

To further protect privacy, PacketSure has the ability to examine the type of data being transmitted and recognize patterns, such as social security numbers and credit card numbers. Policies can be defined to either allow or block that type of information based upon the application using it.


NEXT: Application Control Gets Granular

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