Gateway manufacturer adds Web 2.0 protection

 manufacturer of Web gateways has boosted the appliance’s defence against the threats from so-called social networking applications.

FaceTime Communications’ Unified Security Gateway 3.0 now protects organizations from the hazards posed by employees using Twitter, YouTube, MySpace and hundreds of other “Web 2.0” applications that could leak confidential corporate or personal data.

The problem, according to Nick Sears, the company’s vice-present for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is that these applications are increasingly being embraced by organizations to get closer to customers and suppliers.

However, social networking sites – by definition outside the corporate firewall – don’t have enterprise security.

As a result, “the boundaries between what’s an enterprise application and what’s a consumer application are disappearing,” said Sears.

Unified Security Gateway 3.0 meets that challenge by adding policy-based content monitoring of social network and unified communications applications to the URL filtering, malware and instant messaging protection of the previous version.

USG 3.0 comes with some 300 Web sites that are ranked for security, but these can be changed by administrators. For FaceBook alone there is control access to more than 50,000 applets. For added protection, time and bandwidth allocation quotas can also be set for groups or individuals.

Version 3.0 can in installed in-line with an ICAP-based Web proxy connector so data passes through it before hitting the network, Sears said. As a result it has a greater ability to filter traffic than previous versions of the appliance.

USG 3.0 competes against a raft of Web gateway makers including Symantec, McAfee, Websense, some of whom say they already protect against Web 2.0 applications.

Michael Osterman of Osterman Research, a Black Diamond, Wash.-based IT marketing and consulting firm who was briefed on the USG 3.0, said it’s a “pretty in-depth offering to protect against a growing variety of threats.

“The really interesting thing to me is the fact that it protects against unified communications threats, because our research shows that unified communications is definitely on the increase. Despite the fact that we are in a recession, a lot of organizations are deploying it.”

Many organizations don’t realize how extensively their staff use social networking tools, said Sears. According to FaceTime study, 95 per cent of IT managers of organizations surveyed didn’t think their staff used IPTV, for example. In fact, all of them did. “There’s still a very large gap between what people think is on the network and what actually is,” he said.

USG 3.0 is managed through a new dashboard that can give different administrators individual views of data. In addition, for regulatory compliance purposes it includes the ability to create custom reports.

USG 3.0 pricing starts from US$9,200, which includes licences for 100 users.

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