Hybrid Web filtering combines appliance with hosted service

Hybrid approach relieves appliance of its reporting duties, boosts performance

St. Bernard Software this week is announcing a hybrid solution for Web filtering that the company says combines the control of an appliance with the ease of use of a managed service.

Called the Managed Enterprise Reporting Service for iPrism, the hybrid product is the first release under St. Bernard's new strategy of combining the best aspects of hardware and services to better meet enterprise security needs, according to company officials.

The new product will allow companies to run multiple iPrism appliances in disparate locations, while using the service to collect, analyze and archive information and reports generated by the appliances. This approach allows for greater scalability and cost efficiency than nonhybrid approaches, officials say.

"There are some advantages to offering a hybrid approach, including more choice for customers and the ability to provide a more flexible upgrade path in the future," says Michael Osterman, president of Osterman Research and author of Unified Communications Newsletter in a July edition. "Vendors that offer both don't force their customers to look for alternative vendors when their preference for service delivery changes."

St. Bernard's iPrism appliance sits at a company's site to block employee access to inappropriate or nonwork-related Web sites. The hosted service stores reports on employee activity at St. Bernard's data centers, where secure backup is also provided, officials say.

For companies that only need one iPrism appliance, the hybrid approach is still beneficial because it relieves the appliance of its reporting duties, therefore boosting performance, they say.

St. Bernard competes with Web filtering such vendors as Sophos, IronPort, ESoft, ScanSafe and Postini. Last year St. Bernard acquired Singlefin, provider of hosted services for Web, e-mail and instant-messaging security, for an undisclosed amount.

Managed Enterprise Reporting Service for iPrism is priced at US$1,000 per year per appliance. Pricing for the iPrism starts at US$2,490.

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