Strengths: Easy to use, with a comprehensive feature set
Weaknesses: Software-based, which requires the extra expense of separate hardware
Verdict: If you prefer a software implementation, this could be just the ticket
While it may be called Websense Express, do not be fooled. This is no watered-down web content management software. Websense Express provides a nice feature set, focusing on three distinct areas of web content management. The first is web content and protocol filtering, plus blocks including URL filters, media download services and peer-to peer blocking. The second deals with threats such as spyware, bots, malcode, phishing, pharming and keylogging. Finally, this product can help manage the use of services such as IM.
This software-based offering installs quite nicely into the environment and is managed through the Websense Manager GUI. This is easy to use and navigation is simple and intuitive.
Websense Express can be deployed in the environment using a machine with one or two NICs. If a single NIC is used, it must be connected to a network hub or span port on a switch to monitor and block. If two NICs are used, one is connected to the hub or span port to monitor, the other to the network switch to send block requests.
Policy management is also quite simple. Policies can be assigned to users and groups based on Active Directory, computers, IP addresses or entire network segments. These policies can be as granular or broad as needed.
Documentation comes as three main manuals. The quick-start guide outlines the initial installation process. The installation manual has a more in-depth explanation of the setup and configuration steps. Finally, the user guide goes into further detail about the specific policy configuration and other features. All the material is well organised and the user guide has many screenshots and examples.
Websense offers both free basic support and additional programs. The basic version entails phone technical support during office hours as well as email assistance. Paid-for packages extend this to 24/7 phone support. There is also support information available on the website, including a knowledge base, documentation and update and patch downloads.
Starting at £12 per user, Websense Express is good for environments that are looking for high flexibility at a fairly low cost. However, as it is software based, it does require the purchase of extra hardware, which can make the deal slightly less sweet.