Web content filters continue on the path to commoditizationJune 21, 2012
A lot has changed in regards to Web Content Filters (WCF) since Info-Tech Research Group’s last vendor report. The solutions are highly commoditized, and features that used to differentiate advanced products from basic ones are now just table stakes, such as URL filtering.
The true differentiators in the market today are price and deployment options. Prices differ across the board but it is possible to find an affordable solution with a strong feature set. Also, vendors should offer on-premise, virtual appliances and a hybrid option of on-premise and hosted/cloud service to meet enterprise’s diverse requirements.
Based on these new differentiators and a changed market space, two vendors came out on top: McAfee and Websense.
McAfee, a continual leader in the security space, offers a strong WCF solution with an equally attractive price. McAfee is an example of a vendor with diverse deployment options, including on-premise appliances to SaaS Web Protection, and a hybrid option. These options are all under the Web Protection umbrella and therefore flexible in connecting with McAfee’s ePolicy Orchestrator, making it ideal for enterprises looking for a single platform system.
Websense also offers similar deployment options, such as their Cloud security option that also applies to remote devices. Websense offers a single platform solution as well, integrating its DLP solution into its WCF offering under the TRITON platform. Websense’s only challenge is that its solution is significantly more expensive than the other solutions evaluated, despite offering the same feature set as other solutions.
In the Innovator space, Blue Coat had the highest product score with all advanced features, including dynamic scoring, remote filtering, SSL filtering and more. Blue Coat’s challenge comes in regards to its stability in the space. It was recently acquired by the private equity firm Thoma Bravo, reverting from public to private ownership. While Thoma Bravo owns a broad portfolio of tech companies, past ownership transitions have not always been smooth, so it remains to be seen what the long-term impact will be on Blue Coat and its portfolio.
Barracuda also placed as an Innovator. With the lowest price for a solution, its web filter takes SSL filtering a step beyond to include inspection for SSL for malware, and to do it selectively for users who don’t want everything decrypted. Barracuda also offers a breadth of deployment methods from on-premise to hybrid. Its challenge is that its solution does not offer dynamic scoring, which would give the filter the ability to scan and determine the intention of uncategorized sites
Three vendors placed as Market Pillars: Cisco/IronPort, Trend Micro, and EdgeWave. Cisco/IronPort has a highly comprehensive product with a good price. Trend Micro offers the Smart Protection Network, a Cloud-based network, that conducts real-time reputation ratings, a key feature in identifying previously unclassified threat sites. However Trend does not offer a hosted solution. EdgeWave’s iPrism has a robust set of advanced features; but its built-in DLP is limited to social media only but is adapting its mail security DLP capability to its Web security solution.
Trustwave, Clearswift and Bloxx are our Emerging Players this time around. Trustwave recently acquired the WCF-focused company, M86, to strengthen its portfolio in this area. Its solution is strong in covering mobile and remote users. Clearswift offers a fluid and intuitive user interface but does not offer any Cloud or security-as-a-service deployment options. Bloxx’s solution offers basic capabilities, but those capabilities do not extend to endpoints.
Looking to the future of web content filtering, we anticipate further consolidation on the vendor side. Product-wise, we see it losing relevance as an individual security product offering. WCF will primarily be offered in combination with other security tools, similar to data leakage prevention (DLP).
For more information on Web content filtering, refer to Info-Tech Research Group’s Vendor Landscape: Web Content Filters.This entry was posted in Infrastructure, Research, What's New in Research and tagged Barracuda Web Security, Bloxx Web Filtering, Blue Coat ProxySG Secure Web Gateway, Cisco/Ironport S-Series web Security Appliances, Clearswift Secure Web Gateway, content filtering, Edgewave iPrism, M86 Secure Web Gateway, McAfee Web Protection, Trend Micro InterScan Web Security, Trustwave Secure Web Gateway, wcf, Web Content Filtering, web content filters, web filters, Websense Triton. Bookmark the permalink.