FaceTime Enterprise Edition
Strengths: Very comprehensive, with good policies and a clearly laid-out console
Weaknesses: Poor documentation included with test appliance
Verdict: An extremely configurable instant messaging security appliance
Another rebadged Dell PowerEdge 850 rack-mountable 1U server, FaceTime RTG500 is aimed at the medium to large enterprise market.
To access the initial set-up screen we had to connect a monitor and keyboard, and we noticed that it's running a Fedora Core Linux. We were unsure whether or not this had been security-hardened. Unlike some of the software suites, the FaceTime server is aimed purely at instant messaging.
We were a little disappointed to find that the printed documentation extended to just one sheet of paper - a quick-start guide. A more comprehensive manual would have been helpful.
Access to the management interface is via a browser, which we had some problems accessing. Much of this initial set-up was troublesome due to the lack of documentation and, in the end, we only got into the management interface through trial and error. Once we did manage to access the web-based administration console, the first task was to change the administration password.
The console is clearly laid out and quite Web 2.0 in appearance. It has a dashboard look and feel about it and provides a real-time view of traffic such as spyware, instant messaging, peer-to-peer, HTTP and UDP. All other TCP traffic is grouped under one heading. Helpfully, it also tells you how many IM messages have travelled through the machine.
On first use of the appliance the default global policy for instant messaging is not to allow file-transfers, peer-to-peer, client connections or IM networks. We also found that the machine defaults to discovery mode. Once configured, this can be set to enforcement mode.
The main configuration window provided a clear and concise view of the device. We could establish custom policies via individual IP addresses or a range of addresses. Spyware policies can also be established here, being as they are the most critical threats over instant messaging.
The device allows the administrator to control access to whichever IM networks they choose, including AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft and Google. It can also be used to allow peer-to-peer applications, such as BitTorrent.
In the RTG 500, FaceTime has produced a good all rounder that adequately covers the networks most likely to be used in today's corporate environments. However, it was let down slightly by minimal documentation and some aspects of utility.