Review: Filtering Workplace Web Use - InformationWeek

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Review: Filtering Workplace Web Use

Can you prevent staff from overwhelming your bandwidth without blocking all Web access? We tried three different packages.

Your 50-employee business is experiencing sluggish Internet access. You get the budget approval and upgrade to a higher speed connection. But you don't notice any increase in Web download performance. Your boss is disappointed that the higher bandwidth link isn't as fast as you said it would be.


Filtering Workplace Web Use


•  The Problem

•  Secure Computing's SmartFilter

•  St. Bernard's iPrism Model 1200

•  Websense Enterprise

•  Conclusion

You hook up a packet analyzer and find out that 50 percent of your bandwidth is being consumed by personal usage of the Web during business hours. This wastes their work time as well as company bandwidth. You tell your boss. She puts out a memo asking people to stop. No one stops. What can you do?

In addition, it turns out that several employees are tying up bandwidth by viewing sports-related online videos, and you want to block them. However, they and other employees are expected to view various news broadcasts as part of their daily job, and you don't want to block those accidentally. Can that be done?

Products Tested:
We decided to test three of the best-known products that are directed toward the SMB market and see how effective they were in blocking unnecessary Internet use in order to save bandwidth: WebSense Enterprise, Secure Computing SmartFilter, and St. Bernard iPrism.

WebSense Enterprise and Secure Computing SmartFilter are software solutions that require a PC running proxy or firewall software such as Microsoft ISA Sever 2004. .St.Bernard iPrism is a standalone hardware appliance that can be connected between the firewall and the internal network so that all network traffic must flow through it. It can also be connected directly to the internal network and used in proxy mode; this requires configuring each computer on your network to use it as a proxy.

Typically, these products are used to configure subject areas to monitor and block such as shopping, banking, pornography, etc. When a user browses a site that belongs to one of these categories, their session can be terminated automatically. Reports can be generated displaying who tried to browse what and when.

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