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January 10, 2011

Blue Coat targets SMBs with web security platform

Designed to augment current security platforms - so do SMBs need it?

By Steve Evans

Blue Coat Systems has unveiled a web security product that it claims will offer SMBs the same level of protection that big companies get but at a lower price.

The Blue Coat ProxyOne appliance integrates web filtering, inline malware and antivirus scanning as well as a reporting capability to protect from threats from Web 2.0 applications. The inline malware and antivirus scanning, provided by Kaspersky, takes place at the web gateway, so threats should not hit the network, the company said.

The real-time aspect of ProxyOne utilises the cloud-based WebPulse service, which is a community of 70 million users who provide information on websites and applications. This enables Blue Coat to keep WebPulse up to date against the newest threats as they emerge, the company claims.

The increase in use of social media at SMBs means companies have to protect against threats that emerge from them, Blue Coat said. In 2010, 70% of small and medium-sized businesses were using social media tools and, according to Panda Security, 30% of those businesses reported malware infections spread via social networks.

The new platform can identify potentially infected end users as well as establish whether they are complying with usage policies.

With the majority SMBs lacking the personnel and financial clout to have a dedicated security employee, Nigel Hawthorn, VP EMEA marketing at Blue Coat, believes the market is lacking a device like this, which requires minimal set up and management.

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ProxyOne can be configured and deployed in six steps and there is a single dashboard for reports and policy setting. A number of pre-configured policies are included and the software updates automatically. Hawthorn believes this will reduce the burden on IT staff.

"SMBs generally have no IT security expert in place, but they all want one. They want the same defences as big companies but don’t need all of the complex architecture. They can’t afford for the IT guy to do it, so here it’s all built in," he told CBR.

He added that the appliance is expected to augment security platforms already in place at many SMBs, most likely a firewall, desktop-based antivirus and/or unified threat management. So does that make ProxyOne an unnecessary extra for many businesses?

"It’s not for all SMBs," Hawthorn admitted, "but everything is in the right place with this; price, functionality and reduced complexity; the manual has been reduced from over 1,000 pages for example. Lots of companies won’t know what’s going on on their own network, and this can help them."

Blue Coat ProxyOne starts at $8,999 for 100 users, which includes the appliance, software licenses, automatic security updates and support for one year. The appliance can scale to support up to 2,000 users.

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