Unique in this test, the iPrism is actually an appliance. Although these tend to be more expensive than software-only products, they usually have the advantage of a fairly solid configuration since they are factory-build.
St Bernard's iPrism is a stylish purple device, 1U in height for rack mounting. The content filtering software runs on a hardened Unix operating system. And for those of you worried about having to fire up Unix utilities, the management console is Java-based. Because of this, the iPrism is completely platform independent.
Integrating it into your network is simple. The dual auto-configuring 10/100 Ethernet cards make it virtually plug-and-play, while the Java console is extremely easy to use, and can be operated from any machine on the network.
Defining users and user groups is made easy because the iPrism is completely integrated with both the Windows NT/2000 directory and LDAP.
The iPrism uses a comprehensive database of URLs, which is updated automatically at a specified time when traffic is low, such as overnight. The database contains 60 content categories. St Bernard's analysts check all new URLs to ensure that they are correctly categorized, to prevent both false negatives and false positives.
When configuring the filters, you can select from three basic filter types: block offensive, pass all and monitor offensive, or create your own filters. From these you can fine-tune them, specifying access control lists which include scheduling for if and when a URL can be viewed. Like N2H2's Sentian, users can request access to blocked sites, and administrators can also set an override link to allow specified users access via a predefined password.
One feature of iPrism is extremely useful. If you are blocking sites by IP address, it is quite possible that legitimate sites may be hosted alongside forbidden ones. Similarly, some top level pages may be perfectly acceptable, while ones further down the line are not. iPrism can ensure that the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater by allowing access to the permitted sites whilst restricting access to those that are not.
All logged information can be easily imported into Crystal Reports or WebTrends, and the iPrism comes supplied with dozens of pre-defined and customizable reports. Queries can also be run against the data.
The iPrism is a truly impressive device. Easy to install and easy to configure, its powerful yet simple to use filtering should be sufficient for any organization