Review: Tablus Content Alarm NW, v5.0

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Review: Tablus Content Alarm NW, v5.0

Tablus Content Alarm is a network-based tool that inspects data as it passes, and then performs appropriate actions in accordance with policies.

The appliance acts as an inline proxy with several additional modules. Some of these modules act as sensors, some crawl the network and identify sensitive data, while others provide alarming functions.

Content Alarm works by fingerprinting sensitive data and then inspecting all data leaving the network. The alarms notify the administrator of sensitive data being exfiltrated, while the ICAP (internet content adaptation protocol) server blocks it.

We had no trouble getting this appliance up and running. It sets up and configures much like any appliance, and we did not find it particularly difficult to deploy and configure in our test bed. The appliance can handle most protocols, as well as email, but it does not have the ability to manage peripheral devices such as thumb drives.

A major difference between this product and many others of its type is that Content Alarm works best when it knows about sensitive content in advance. This approach, fundamentally different from packet inspection, allows a more efficient process, and accuracy approaches 100 percent.

The dashboard is clean and the various functions (policy management, dashboard, reports, etc.) are depicted on tabs, so the overall impression is a nice, clean, easy-to-use interface. We found performance good and that, along with setup, proved to be a very pleasant surprise.

The documentation is very good. Both administrator and users guides are provided as PDF files. The web site contains a lot of additional support information.

Technical support is available at no additional charge to all Content Alarm customers who have access to support during the work day. Additionally, there are support plans that offer 24/7 support, and even one that designates an individual support engineer.

With a basic price of US$18,638, Content Alarm NW is about in the middle of the pack. This may be a bit pricey for managing data in motion over the network only.

However, Tablus also makes a companion product — Content Alarm DT — that provides full protection at the desktop. Together, these two products cover the entire landscape and add value to each other.

For: Extremely accurate identification of sensitive material from databases etc
Against: Protects data in motion only over the network
Verdict: This product works best with its companion desktop version, but if you archive a lot of sensitive data, this is a solid performer over the network.

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