Review: IBM Proventia Web Filter

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Review: IBM Proventia Web Filter

The Proventia Web Filter is a piece of the much larger Proventia multi-function appliance. It is available either as part of the appliance or as a standalone product.

Even though it is removed from its counterpart, it does not lose functionality. This tool has many nice features, from basic web URL filtering and image blocking to file-type blocking and media filtering.

The device is quite easy to install and manage. It can plug in directly with Microsoft ISA Server, so getting it running in the environment is seamless.

The installation takes just a few minutes and is done from an executable on the ISA Server. The tool is managed through the management console GUI, which is nicely organised and intuitive to navigate. The navigation is almost like using Windows Explorer and the navigation pane has clear categories that can be expanded into sub categories for easy configuration.

Since the computers on the network are most likely proxied through ISA anyway, there is little to do in the way of changing the existing environment. The Proventia Web Filter can pull users and groups from existing Active Directory or LDAP databases, so the group structure can stay intact. Configuring rules and policy requires just a few clicks to set everything.

Documentation entails the usual quick-start and user guides. The former nicely illustrates deployment options and many installation scenarios, along with some general configuration information. The user manual provides additional detail with more advanced configuration and explanation of various features. Both guides have many screenshots that are labelled to illustrate certain tabs or menus.

IBM-ISS offers many types of support contracts. One year standard support is included with the purchase. Help includes phone and email technical support, access to updates and downloads, a knowledge base, documentation and a few other resources such as policy checkers and content security tools.

While this product does have some nice features, at a price starting at about US$44 per user before purchase of the server and ISA, we find it to be an average value for the money if the environment is not already running ISA. If the environment has an existing ISA server, the value for this product is good.

For: Easy to deploy with plug-in capability to ISA server to add web content management
Against: Can become quite costly
Verdict: If you are using the Proventia suite and ISA Server, this is a no-brainer. A solid addition to the product line

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