Strengths: Easy to use with a comprehensive feature set.
Weaknesses: Software-based, which requires the extra expense of separate hardware.
Verdict: If you prefer a software implementation, this is just the ticket.
SummaryWhile it may be called Websense Express do not be fooled. This is no watered down web content management software. This product provides a nice feature set. Websense Express focuses in on three distinct areas of web content management. First are web content and protocol filtering and block including URL filters, media download services and peer-to peer blocking. The second is threats, such as spyware, bots, malcode, phishing, pharming and key logging. Finally, this product can help manage use of services that have started to become commonplace in today’s enterprise, such as instant messaging.
This product is software-based and installs quite nicely into the environment. The 10-step installation process, designed to get the product up and running, goes smoothly with no trouble. Once installed, management is done through the Websense Manager GUI. This GUI is easy to use and navigation is simple and intuitive.
This product can be deployed in the environment using a machine with one or two NICs. If a single NIC is used, it must be connected to a network hub or span port on a switch to monitor and block. If two NICs are used, one is connected to the hub or span port to monitor, and the other to the network switch to send block requests. Beyond deploy options, policy management is also quite simple. Policies can be assigned to users and groups based on Active Directory, computers, IP addresses or entire network segments. These policies can also be setup to be as granular or broad as needed.
Documentation for this product consists of three main manuals. First is the quick start guide, which provides the initial 10-step installation process. The second is the installation guide. This manual provides a more in-depth explanation of intial setup and configuration steps. Finally, the user guide goes into further detail about the specific policy configuration and other features of the product. All these guides are well organized and the user guide is nicely illustrated with many screen shots and examples.
Websense offers both free basic support and support programs. The basic support offers phone technical support 5 a.m.-5 p.m. Pacific Time, as well as email support. Support programs offer 24/7 phone support. There is also support information available on the website, including a knowledge base, documentation and update and patch downloads.
This product is a good value for the money. While it is software-based, it does provide some nice functionality at a decent price. Starting at about $20 per user for deployments under 250 users, Websense Express is good for environments that are looking for high flexibility at a fairly low cost. However, since it is software-based, it does require the purchase of extra hardware, which can make the deal not as sweet.