A more granular approach to web filtering has been introduced in the new version of the PacketShaper technology from Blue Coat.
Adding the ability to block content within websites, version 8.6 of the application allows organisations to stay ahead of the evolving web with minimal IT effort, according to the company.
Utilising Blue Coat's WebPulse service, from a community of 70 million users that provides comprehensive web awareness through shared information, the PacketShaper appliances can categorise tens of millions of websites and billions of URLs into 80 logical and manageable categories.
Using the WebPulse service, each URL can be classified in up to four distinct categories, enabling more precise and granular visibility into and management of web applications and content. For example, an organisation can allow access to Facebook for status updates and chat while limiting bandwidth allocated to Facebook games.
Talking to SC Magazine, Dave Ewart, Blue Coat's senior manager of product marketing for EMEA, said that it allows managers to see inside packets and has an added value with the ability to fingerprint applications, for example the use of VoIP via Yahoo Chat.
He said: “This is a real leap forward as users can classify web traffic; it can tell the difference between HTTP and HTTPS so it can detect content and the source of the traffic.
“It is leveraging some of the advanced technologies on the security side and the point of PacketShaper is to manage bandwidth and performance while not being as judgemental as a security solution.”
He explained that by classifying by URL, it gives the application a view of any traffic and can block content within a website. For example, games can be blocked within Facebook while the social networking site can be accessed by employees.
Tom Shea, general manager of the PacketShaper business unit at Blue Coat Systems, said: “The integration with WebPulse provides PacketShaper appliances with a comprehensive, dynamic view of web content and applications, which enables companies to stay ahead of the curve.
“This awareness, combined with the strong bandwidth and application controls that are the foundation of the PacketShaper appliances, gives organisations the performance predictability they require for critical web-based business applications and the flexibility to set policy for other web-based content.”