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News

Social Media Controls On Web Filter Appliance

Barracuda Networks : 03 August, 2012  (New Product)
The web filter appliance from Barracuda networks now features ability to enforce corporate social media policies
Social Media Controls On Web Filter Appliance
Barracuda Networks has released the Barracuda Web Filter Firmware 6.0, featuring new application control capabilities to help organisations assess and enforce social media policy in the workplace.

“Organisations are realising that employee behaviour on social networks can impact productivity, network performance and even company security,” said Stephen Pao, vice president of product management for Barracuda Networks. “However, prior security initiatives to simply block inappropriate content and malware are no longer sufficient. As social media becomes more ingrained in the workplace, organisations must focus on how to ‘allow’ social media while keeping the workplace safe.”

According to the 2011 Barracuda Labs report Social Networking Security & Privacy, 86 percent of respondents felt that employee behaviour on social networks can endanger company security. Despite those concerns, social media is still widely used – 75 percent of respondents’ workplaces allow the use of Twitter and 69 percent of respondents’ workplaces allow the use of Facebook. The Barracuda Web Filter 6.0 allows administrators to safely allow social media use by regulating it through several new capabilities, including an upgraded application control engine with support for granular policies, Web application monitoring and archiving, and enhanced SSL inspection.

Barracuda Web Filter 6.0 adds support for more than 400 profiled applications beyond the scope of traditional URL or domain filtering. For example, with Barracuda Web Filter 6.0, administrators can allow users in the organisation to login to Facebook to view and post status updates while blocking games, shares and other Facebook applications to protect their networks from viruses and malware.

This upgraded application engine builds on the existing capabilities of the Barracuda Web Filter designed to block applications at a broader level, including Skype, BitTorrent and YouTube for regulating bandwidth usage on workplace networks.

The Barracuda Web Filter’s Web Application Monitoring capabilities integrate with the Barracuda Message Archiver and enable the capture and retention of chat, Web-based email and social media interactions for the purpose of archiving, searching and fulfillment of e-Discovery requests. Supported interactions on Facebook include wall posts, comments, messages and chat messages. Supported interactions on Twitter include tweets and direct messages. Other platforms supported by Web Application Monitoring include Yahoo! and Google.

Communication between the Barracuda Web Filter and the Barracuda Message Archiver uses standard SMTP protocols so information can flow easily even when the Barracuda Web Filter and the Barracuda Message Archiver are deployed in different locations on an organisation’s network. Metadata about the social media interaction, including source IP, social media handle, and detected network user ID are also stored in the message for use in litigation.

“As the use of social media as evidence in forensic inquiries increases, organisations must ensure that they properly capture, preserve, search and produce the data in a manner consistent with best practices,” added Pao. “As one of the few vendors that offers both Web security and message archiving solutions, we are well positioned to deliver unprecedented ease-of-use and economics to meet this need.”

As social media networks have embraced encryption of user sessions, the Barracuda Web Filter 6.0 can decrypt HTTPS traffic that is SSL encrypted when deployed in forward proxy mode. Transparent deployment of this enhanced SSL Inspection feature requires deployment of a trusted root certificate on client Web browsers. This capability builds on the existing HTTPS filtering capabilities of the Barracuda Web Filter for inline deployments.
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