Websense Enterprise Web Filtering

Websense's Web Filtering application is part of its Websense Enterprise suite of tools. It requires a copy of Windows 2000/2003 Server and a compliant web server. We used it with Microsoft's IIS, but you can also use Apache.

This makes it a little more difficult to install than other products on test. Management is done via Websense Enterprise Manager, a Java-based application. With this you can manage any number of Websense deployments, and it's an effective centralized tool.

Websense Web Filtering works along the same lines as the other products on test – at its heart lies a URL database. Split into categories, it is this database that is used to rate sites.

On top of this you must create policies that define which categories you want to allow and which to deny. The interface isn't quite as simplistic as the one used by SurfControl, so it takes a bit longer to work out. In part, it's due to the range of icons used in each policy. Once you get used to them, it is simple to see which options are turned on and off. Websense also doesn't provide much of a default policy. The one provided by SurfControl lets you see exactly how the app works.

The Web Filter has several advanced features beyond basic URL filtering.

It can block by keyword and has a protocol and file-type filter. You can, for example, block MP3 downloads. The filter successfully blocked all of our attempts to access unauthorized sites.

Time quotas can be set for each profile and you can filter based on username, IP address or subnet. If you pay for the license you can install the bandwidth optimizer, which lets you control network usage, including blocking certain protocols when network usage hits your defined threshold.

All these options are defined as objects, so creating a policy is as easy as selecting the building blocks you've already created.

Websense's Web Filtering is a good product and part of a larger suite of web security tools. However, it lacks the ease of use and simplicity of rival products, such as SurfControl's Web Filter.

Product title
Websense Enterprise Web Filtering
Product info
Name: Websense Enterprise Web Filtering (Group Test: Web filtering) Description: Price: $2,750 for 100 users
File type filter; integrates with Websense Enterprise.
Can be difficult to see which rules are applied.
If you've already got some Websense Enterprise components, Web Filtering will integrate into your existing infrastructure, but there are easy products to manage.

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