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Sophos : New web appliance delivers improved reporting capability and security filtering

January 2008 by Marc Jacob

Sophos announced that its web appliance, the WS1000, now offers enhanced URL categorisation with a database of 24 million sites, and gives systems administrators the ability to quickly and easily create and enforce group-specific policies. Eastbourne College, housing 625 students, 350 workstations and complex network infrastructure, was an early adopter of the WS1000, a result of being impressed with the installation and configuration process as well as the detailed reporting capability.

Designed to deliver trusted content security, application control and URL filtering in a single appliance, the WS1000 ensures a secure web browsing experience as it protects against all forms of malware and productivity threats, combining security and URL filtering to ensure that users are supported with continuously updated threat definitions. It now also provides businesses with greater control, management and oversight of their web security solutions.

Sophos’s recent research, detailed in the Sophos threat report, shows that a new infected webpage is found and blocked by Sophos every 14 seconds. As the majority of businesses now have security solutions in place to defend traditional vectors of attack, such as infected email attachments, cybercriminals have honed their approach - emailing links to infected webpages in sophisticated socially engineered emails, as well as using web ads and other marketing tactics to get victims to their sites. Legitimate websites are increasingly being targeted by hackers to host malware in an attempt to circumvent conventional security measures and trick unwary users.

Sitting at the gateway, the WS1000 allows administrators to secure their networks against these modern web attacks that traditional URL filtering techniques, relying on URL categorisation, cannot defend against. Powered by SophosLabs – a global network of researchers and analysts which constantly monitors billions of webpages for new malware, virus, spyware and phishing threats – the WS1000 is automatically updated every couple of minutes with the latest threat defences, including updated proactive technology and malicious URLs.

With advanced policy control via a simple web-based management console, the WS1000 also allows for group, user, content-type and time-based polices to be easily configured against a database of 24 million sites, divided into 54 URL categories, to protect against productivity, security, legal and bandwidth risks.

Increasing threat levels, the need to vigilantly manage policies and accurately report on network activities, as well as a desire to reduce administrative requirements, prompted Eastbourne College in Sussex to deploy the WS1000. With a specific need to define and monitor a number of user group policies, the web appliance presented a flexible solution.

The WS1000 provides 13 key reports, allowing administrators to quickly analyse security threats, recognise policy violators and identify top bandwidth users, amongst others. All reports are generated in real-time, facilitating instant reaction and increased network control.

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