IBM Proventia Web Filter
Strengths: Easy to deploy with plug-in capability to ISA server to add web content management.
Weaknesses: Can become quite costly.
Verdict: If you are using the Proventia suite and ISA Server, this is a no-brainer. A solid addition to the Proventia products.
SummaryThe Proventia Web Filter is a piece of the much larger Proventia multifunction appliance. This piece is available either as part of the appliance or as a standalone product. Even though it is removed from its counterpart, it does not lose functionality. This product has many nice features from basic web URL filtering and image blocking to file type blocking and media filtering.
This product is quite easy to install and manage. It can plug-in directly with Microsoft ISA Server, so getting it running in the environment is seamless. The installation takes just a few minutes and is run from an executable right on the ISA Server. Once installed, management is done through the management console GUI. This GUI is nicely organized and intuitive to navigate. The navigation is almost like using Windows Explorer, and the navigation pane has clear categories, which can be expanded into subcategories for easy configuration.
Plug it in and go is pretty much the mantra with this product. Since the computers on the network are most likely proxied through ISA anyway, there is little to do in the way of changing the existing environment. This product also can pull users and groups from existing Active Directory or LDAP databases, so the group structure can stay intact. Configuring rules and policy is also quite simple, just requiring a few clicks and everything is set.
Documentation for this product is provided in the form of a quick start guide and a user guide. The quick start guide nicely illustrates deployment options and many installation scenarios along with some general configuration information. The user guide gets more in-depth with more advanced configuration and explanations of various features. Both guides have good detail and many screen shots, which are labeled to illustrate certain tabs or menus.
IBM-ISS offers many types of support to customers via support contracts. Customers get one year of standard support included with the purchase of Proventia Web Filter. Support includes phone and email technical support, access to updates and downloads, a knowledge base, documentation and a few other useful resources, such as policy checkers and content security tools.
While this product does have some nice features, at a price starting at about $44 per user before purchase of the server and ISA, we find it to be an average value for the money if the environment is not already running ISA. If the environment has an existing ISA server, the value for this product is good.