Aladdin eSafe Web 5.2
Strengths: Easy to set up and manage, filtering very customisable
Weaknesses: Does not come with a base blacklist and download times were long. Support is weak
Verdict: A good middle-of-the-road product with some good additional features. Very easy to use and manage
Aladdin's eSafe content filter is delivered as a software package that requires its own dedicated server. It has a comprehensive suite of features and can be implemented as a transparent bridge, proxy or router.
The software is straightforward to install and deploy, with an intuitive web interface that simplifies setup and management. There is a clean dashboard that makes monitoring web traffic easy. Policies may be set up by users and/or groups, and the product filters URLs by category as well as by content. Filters can be limited to time frames and days of the week.
Performance is good, and we found eSafe Web to be reasonably feature-rich. The product provides anti-spam, anti-spyware and adware protection, in addition to web content filtering. The latter is sifted by URL, keyword or application.
The documentation is clear, with an installation and setup guide available either in pdf or paper format. Step-by-step procedures, wizards, screen shots and topology diagrams all are part of the documentation set. We liked the level of detail, especially in those sections that related to product setup. The material is available on the website for download.
We found support to be weak. The website has the usual frequently asked questions section, documentation downloads and trouble reports, but there is no phone support. The only way to get assistance is by submitting a trouble report. The website in the "contact us" page refers support requests to the "support and downloads" page, which in turn offers the opportunity to initiate a trouble ticket, but no way to contact a helpdesk directly.
At around £4 per user, the eSafe Web product is about in the middle of the pack in terms of price, but the cost of its own dedicated server raises the cost somewhat.
Also, with such limited support available, the cost of ownership can end up being a bit higher than it first appears. Overall, we found value for money to be average, even though we liked the features and were impressed with the performance.