WatchGuard has announced the launch of an application control firewall function to give administrators granular control over Web 2.0 categories.

According to the company, WatchGuard Application Control protects against the next generation of threats that leverage popular applications, while allowing businesses to rein in how individual employees use social networking, directly from the corporate firewall.

WatchGuard Application Control enables the firewall to identify and control more than 1,500 applications by leveraging more than 2,300 unique application signatures, according to the company. 

Administrators can select which applications to control from 13 major categories including: instant messaging; mail; social media; P2P; remote access terminals; databases; file transfer; streaming media; network management; and tunnel applications used to bypass firewalls.

Tim Helming, director of product management at WatchGuard, said: “The explosion of new applications entering business networks creates havoc for administrators who need to protect business assets while simultaneously supporting agile and efficient work environments. For example, many organisations today may want to allow Facebook use for some people, but deny it for others.

“With WatchGuard Application Control, businesses gain a better handle on reducing risks right down to individual employees and the myriad applications that those users bring into their network.”

WatchGuard Application Control is available with the WatchGuard XTM 11.4 OS update.