While not strictly an appliance, this version of Websense is tightly integrated with all of SonicWALL's range of extremely popular firewall appliances.
Websense consists of four components. The Websense Server allows Websense to integrate with whichever integration partner you have chosen - in the case of this review, SonicWALL. The Websense Manager allows you to configure and manage the product, while the database contains 4 million web sites that employees visit. The database is updated daily and you can add categories and URLs of your own. There is also an optional DC Agent designed to work with Windows directories to allow direct user identification.
At the two extremes it can simply block or permit access. Administrators can also specify a group of sites which are the only ones a particular group can access. As well as global policies that affect everyone in the organization, you can create fine-tuned policies for specific users and groups.
Creating policies and matching them to clients is very simple. You just create a policy and then select which of the categories from the database should apply to that particular policy.
Websense also offers keyword blocking. If it detects a keyword associated with a particular category, it can block that site. However, it is quite a clumsy implementation and it can end up blocking permitted sites.
The recent addition of the Premium Group III (PGIII) database to the product now means that companies can be protected from malicious web sites as well as offensive ones. When the company imports URLs into its URL warehouse, it automatically scans for possible malicious code.If detected, the URLs are added to the PGIII database which is then uploaded to companies' instances of Websense along with the updates.
Data can be exported into HTML format or into your reporting application of choice by using the optional (but free) Websense Reporter.
Given just how popular SonicWALL's firewall appliances are, Websense complements them perfectly. But even if you don't use SonicWALL's products, Websense is definitely an application that you should consider for your business - just try to avoid using keyword blocking.