The St. Bernard iPrism is an appliance that provides a reasonably wide range of web content filtering related features. Using access control lists (ACLs), iPrism allows real granularity in how and when the Internet can be accessed. For example, by using different ACLs different rule sets can be applied to different days of the week and different times. The architecture of the appliance can be pass-through or proxy.
We found performance to be average with this product. While it provides both content and URL filtering as well as instant messaging and peer-to-peer blocking, we found that despite the website’s claim that the "100 percent human reviewed database is the most accurate in the industry," we found that iPrism missed some gambling and gaming sites even when we set the appliance to block them.
The key to successful URL blocking usually is the blacklist. In the case of iPrism, the claim is that the database is reviewed by analysts. While this can be very positive, the number of potential sites on a blacklist can be quite large. However, updates are available hourly so the task should be manageable and the user should benefit from protection from "ghost sites" – sites that come and go rapidly as an obfuscation technique.
The iPrism shines in two particular areas: documentation and ease of use. Documentation is thorough and consists of an installation guide and a quick set-up guide. These guides are clearly written, loaded with screen shots and make effective use of step-by-step instructions. There are other guides, such as the administrator’s guide, available as well. All are the same high quality whether provided as paper or PDF format.
Deployment is simple and makes extensive use of wizards to simplify the process. Management and set-up programs are Java-based and the management utility is intuitive and straightforward to use. The various filter options are easy to use and are reasonably flexible.
Support is good and is available by phone from midnight to 4 pm Pacific time. The support website contains the usual collection of knowledge base, support requests, etc. iPrism M3100 is priced at the high end of the spectrum; however, this model – the high-end – supports networks of over 1,000 workstations and multiple iPrisms can be used in a distributed environment connecting through the optional Enterprise Reporting Server for iPrism.