Akonix Reins In Corporate IM Threats

 
 
By Michael Caton  |  Posted 2004-07-12
 
 
 

Akonix Reins In Corporate IM Threats


Companies that want to control instant messaging and peer-to-peer file sharing across the enterprise, with a particular eye toward protection from viruses and unwanted instant messages, will find Akonix Systems Inc.s L7 Enterprise update a flexible management system.



Click here to read the full review of L7 Enterprise 3.0.

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Companies that want to control instant messaging and peer-to-peer file sharing across the enterprise, with a particular eye toward protection from viruses and unwanted instant messages, will find Akonix Systems Inc.s L7 Enterprise update a flexible management system.

L7 Enterprise 3.0, which began shipping in May, includes a gateway and a policy management system for auditing and blocking IM and file-sharing applications inside the network and across a companys firewall.

Priced at $3,846 for a 50-user license for the gateway, the product can quickly get expensive when components needed to manage IM-based communications effectively are added. A 50-user anti-virus license costs $484, and Compliance Manager for auditing IM communications costs $2,000 for a three-user license.

In eWEEK Labs tests, we liked the options L7 Enterprise provided for configuring the gateway to manage public IM clients, as well as enterprise IM software such as Microsoft Corp.s Live Communications Server. We found it easy to configure the system to block, flag or allow instant messages using a policy-based rules engine .

Although we found the L7 interface efficient for managing IM traffic, wed like more options from a management platform perspective than those provided by L7 Enterprises MMC (Microsoft Management Console) snap-in module.

Because America Online Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft frequently change the protocols for their consumer IM products, administrators have their hands full trying to block IM traffic at the firewall. L7 removes that burden by providing automatic updates for these protocols on a regular basis.

We could also configure the server to update its McAfee anti-virus engine and "spim" (spam for IM) and malware filter profiles. Although IM isnt subject to the same volume of spam and malware threats that e-mail is, there are four threats that L7 covers with this new version. These filters run off the same policy engine used to monitor and control IM content, so it is possible to quickly create a policy that responds to a threat.

Next Page: Staying on top of policy violations.

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Compliance Manager is a Web-based tool that auditors will use to view and manage communications logs for policy violations, such as sending Social Security numbers.

Starting at nearly $700 per user, Compliance Manager is an expensive investment, especially since the application really should be built into L7—logging has little management value without Compliance Manager.

On the reporting side, L7 includes a reporting engine that provides a good variety of templates, as well as wizards and a scheduling engine to build custom reports.

From an access perspective, we could configure L7 to associate user names in our test domain with IM screen names. We liked that the application also supports self-registration of screen names through an IIS (Internet Information Services)-based Web site.

Akonix differs from competing products from FaceTime Communications Inc. and IMlogic Inc. in that it doesnt have to be deployed in the network DMZ. L7 can act as a Socks 5 proxy or use an optional HTTP relay to route IM traffic to public networks.

To read eWEEK Labs review of FaceTimes IM Guardian, click here.

Completely blocking unauthorized traffic requires Akonix Enforcer 3.1, which sits at the network edge and costs $952 for 50 users.

Technical Analyst Michael Caton can be reached at michael_caton@ziffdavis.com.

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