Blue Coat Systems Inc. on Monday is unveiling a new set of appliances designed to solve the latency and throughput problems that hamper the current generation of Web anti-virus boxes.
The ProxyAV appliance works in conjunction with the companys ProxySG security gateway, and only inspects the Web objects that the gateway hands off to it.
Once the objects are scanned for viruses, the ProxyAV sends them back to the gateway, which caches them so that the appliance doesnt have to re-scan an object if another user requests it later.
Most other competing Web anti-virus appliances lack this caching ability and are forced to scan every object that comes through, no matter how many times theyve seen it before. This can lead to latency of as much as a second or more, which many users find unacceptable.
"Typically, AV appliances do a great job, but the performance has an effect on the network. I dont think well run into that bottleneck with this," Steve Kozman, manager of network security solutions at Infonet Services Corp., a management service provider based in El Segundo, Calif., which has been testing the Proxy AV for several weeks.
Web anti-virus is essentially the last frontier left for anti-virus providers, given that practically every medium and large enterprise already has standard e-mail anti-virus installed. And if employees check personal Web mail accounts, such as Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, at work, those services can be an easy path for viruses to infect the enterprise.
Consequently, Network Associates Inc., Symantec Corp. and the other major anti-virus vendors have been pushing their Web anti-virus products hard lately in an effort to open up new revenue streams in the saturated enterprise market.
Blue Coats ProxyAV appliance can be configured to use scanning engines from Network Associates, Trend Micro Inc., Panda Software or Sophos Inc. They can provide throughput of up to 249M bps with latency of about four milliseconds, company officials said.
The 400 Series appliances start at $4,495 and the 2000 Series begin at $9,995.