AppRiver launched a new hosted service that filters Web traffic to block malware and to enforce corporate browsing policies.
AppRiver's new SecureSurf
Web-filtering application combines Domain Name System lookups with proxy
routing to filter potentially malicious content from Internet traffic.
Businesses can use
SecureSurf to block Websites containing malicious content as well as to enforce
corporate browsing policies, Joel Smith, CTO of AppRiver, told eWEEK. When a
user attempts to visit a Website, SecureSurf first checks the site against a
continuously updated list to learn if it was a known malicious address. The
list included sites that distribute malware and contain adult content or other
objectionable content. Administrators can also create "whitelists" of known
good sites that users are allowed to access.
directs all sites not on either list through a hosted proxy server, which
conducts a rapid and detailed content analysis, Smith said. While the DNS (Domain
Name System) lookup instantly rejects known bad sites, the proxy server can be
used to evaluate sites that may not be known yet or are legitimate sites that
somehow violate company policy, he said. If the company policy restricts users
accessing video-sharing sites, administrators can configure SecureSurf using
the customer portal to block those sites.
SecureSurf made the tasks of
maintaining whitelists and blacklists "less intensive," Chris Brush, Web and IT
administrator for AppRiver customer Kee Safety, told eWEEK. Kee Safety
beta-tested SecureSurf even before the application had a graphical interface
and the benefits were instantaneous, Brush said. Instead of having to regularly
download a 400MB file containing the latest blacklisted sites and ensuring the
filters were active, the SecureSurf application performed this task in the
background. "Having it taken care of outside the building was great," he said.
AppRiver had over 200
companies participating in the beta, including about 12 midsized companies,
Smith said. Kee Safety sells safety products such as railings, Brush said.
AppRiver has tried Web
filtering in the past, and "it didn't work well," Smith said. The company
decided a hybrid product that incorporated DNS lookups and proxy-based content
analysis offered the most comprehensive protection without compromising the
user experience, he said. Since all the traffic was not forced through the
proxy, the user's Web-surfing performance was not affected.
Kee Safety used AppRiver's
spam-filtering service originally and "wanted more," Brush said. The company
tried the original Web-filtering product, which was "okay," but really liked
SecureSurf's ability to get usage statistics along with blacklist and whitelist
capabilities, he said.
The portal provides detailed
information about what Websites individual users are accessing, as well as what
Websites are being visited the most, Smith said. Each machine has an individual
agent installed, even if the machine is not on the corporate network. The agent
provides machine-by-machine reporting.
The company is currently
beta-testing an antivirus and botnet detection tool that would be a part of
SecureSurf. Expected sometime mid-March, this capability will automatically
scan processes on the user's machine to look for key-loggers and botnets that
may already be installed, Smith said.
As a hosted product,
SecureSurf is easy to deploy in "less than 20 minutes," Smith said.
Administrators do a DNS change to route all traffic to the SecureSurf servers
before reaching user computers.
SecureSurf uses security
information obtained from various third-party partners as well as the
information collected by other AppRiver services, such as the spam filter,
Smith said. The inclusion of third-party feeds was critical because the data
"removes blinders" and provides AppRiver with a more extensive overview of the
threats landscape, Smith said.
AppRiver hasn't "nailed
down" pricing yet, but the company expects it to be less than $5 per user per
month, Smith said. A free version will also be available to home users.