As the United States prepared to wage war in Iraq, news organizations were rolling out new video services to let viewers keep track of the military action via the Internet. And in a counterattack of their own, Internet filtering companies are updating products to help enterprises preserve bandwidth.
Online video services make no bones about targeting daytime broadband viewers at the workplace. When ABCNews.com unveiled its broadband news service earlier this month, it touted research showing that 37 percent of U.S. workers access the Internet from work and that 86 percent have broadband access. Other news services, such as Yahoo Platinum, which Yahoo Inc. introduced last week, also cater to demand for daytime coverage.
The Regional Medical Center, in Orangeburg, S.C., blocks its employees from all streaming audio and video Web sites, according to John Garen, systems analyst at the center. Using a filtering system from Websense Inc., Garen receives detailed reports on all network usage and is able to block content based on sites, protocols and categories.
"We cant have our nurses sitting around watching live news feeds," Garen said. "Once we started locking [streaming audio and video] down, our download times decreased."
Last week, Websense, based in San Diego, introduced its Enterprise v5 filtering tool, which allows IT administrators to control network usage based on URL filtering not only at the gateway but also at the desktop and network levels. IT managers can set boundaries on personal Web surfing; limit peer-to-peer and IM use; and manage desktop programs, among other things. The Websense database is updated every business day with about 5,000 Web sites.
This week, CornerPost Software LLC will unveil an upgraded version of its Chaperon for ISA filtering software, which updates its filter list every 2 hours. The new version lets IT managers block content by file type, in addition to URL, and identify network users.
CornerPost, of Duffield, Va., offers what it calls a unique alert feature that contacts IT administrators by e-mail, pager or phone when users try to get to blocked sites. With multiple user filters, users can be given access to different content, and an automatic client lockout bars offenders from the Internet for a set period of time.