Blue Coat Offers Cloud Services with Web Security

Blue Coat launched Web security as a software as a service to provide real-time malware protection for customers regardless of their location.

Blue Coat Systems launched a new Web security module as part of its new Blue Coat Cloud Service software as a service offering, the company said on Feb. 7.

The cloud service offers customers real-time Web protection for single person in the organization, regardless of where they are physically located, Anthony James, vice president of product management with Blue Coat's Cloud Services group at Blue Coat, told eWEEK. The platform will eventually offer a variety of networking capabilities such as application acceleration, but the focus is currently only on Web security, James said.

"People are more comfortable with Web security in the cloud, as opposed to acceleration," James said.

The Blue Coat Cloud Service would be the company's first stand-alone SAAS product, according to James. The existing Blue Coat Web Pulse service analyzes Web traffic in real-time to detect and block malicious elements, but it is bundled with Blue Coat's security appliances, he said. Customers don't need to have a Blue Coat appliance to use the Web Security module for Cloud Services, James said.

The Web security model combines WebPulse with inline malware scanning technologies to provide comprehensive Web protection, James said. All traffic is directed to the cloud to be scanned and indentified in real-time to protect users from any malware being download on their systems, he said. New and unknown content is scanned and analyzed by WebPulse in real-time. IT managers don't have to worry about updating each employee's systems with the latest database or signatures because the cloud service ensures the latest protection is automatically available, James said.

IT managers install a desktop agent on each device that runs transparently in the background, James said. Regardless of the employee's location, the agent directs all traffic automatically to the service, he said. The user doesn't need to be on the corporate network or logged in via the VPN software, according to James. "The asset is always protected," he said.

Large enterprises can combine Cloud Services with existing on-premise security appliances in the hybrid offering, James said. The appliances could scan Web traffic at the gateway to protect customers on the company network, while the cloud-based service could protect mobile employees and branch offices, he said. Since both products rely on WebPulse, protection is consistent for all users within the enterprise, he said.

"The combination of rapidly evolving and sophisticated Web threats and an increase in the number of remote workers is straining organizations struggling to secure their employees," said Chris Christiansen, program vice president for Security Products and Services at IDC.

Each customer will have a reporting interface that displays the number of threats attempting to access the network, James said. The dashboard also shows what social media sites are being accessed and users accounts that have been infected with malware. The interface also flags instances when machines are sending out information, either in a data leak situation or because a computer is communicating with a command-and-control server, James said. Blue Coat is working on adding ability to take the information and put it in a different business analytics program, but it won't be available till after the spring release of the SAS Web service, he said. IT managers can download the data for the "short-term," he said.

IT managers can also create flexible security policies governing how users access social media sites, James said. The policy may allow users to go to Facebook but not be able to upload video or photos, he said.

The service will have a yearly subscription, but James did not have exact pricing details. Currently in beta, Blue Coat Cloud Services will be general available by the end of April, he said.