Best of 2006: Web content filtering
Web content management products come in two flavors: filtering and blocking. While the distinction may seem trivial it is important. Content blockers must use a black list of disallowed sites. This requires constant updating and the entire URL is blocked for sites on the black lists. Content filtering, on the other hand, filters based upon objectionable content only. That means that a site may be accessible, but objectionable content on it would be filtered.
We also found that, from the implementation perspective, the only consistency was inconsistency. Some products required external SQL Server databases and some could operate with MSDE. We found products that required the installer implement particular features in a particular order, in at least one case on the server itself, leading us to wonder what would happen if the organization deploying the filter had a long-standing installation of the server that had been set up in the wrong sequence for the content filter. Clearly that organization would need to shut down the server and reinstall it before the filtering product could be deployed.
Product: Websense Security Suite — Lockdown Edition
Verdict: Excellent filtering features. Expensive, but worth the money.
Product: WebWasher CSM
Vendor: Secure Computing
Verdict: Stronger contender that covers all the bases, a top performer.
Product: SurfControl Web Filter
Verdict: Established product with a strong and well-deserved reputation.