Network Security


Websense -Allowing organizations to experience a safe move into social networking sites

by Martha Vazquez 22 Feb 2012
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The demand for web security has increased over time due to the emergence of Web 2.0 threats. The use of these social networking sites continues to be widely more accepting to organizations as a means to boost business communication. Enterprises increasingly utilize social networking sites for marketing its products or services. While the use of all these networking sites is a great resource for organizations to use, there is a concern around the threats and risks involved in using them.

Cybercriminals have found ways through social networking sites to steal personal information from these websites. Social media sites are becoming the top vectors for stealing personal information from users and it’s only going to get worse over time. Cybercriminals are always looking for creative ways to steal user credentials and will use online forums to manipulate users to give send over personal data. So while the usages of these social networking sites are increasing, IT Administrators are under pressure to allow employees to utilize and access these websites. IT administrators are perplexed in finding the means to control the employees from compromising pertinent business and personal data. In addition, you add mobility and remote workers in the equation and you can see where administrators are even more perplexed to try to control mobile devices as well.

Last year when I was working on our Content Filtering research, I saw that many traditional web filtering vendors were looking at providing more granular control to social media sites. I continually heard the mantras around cloud security, social media control and integration- these key topics were the top discussions last year. I recently spoke with Websense and was very impressed with how they are tackling the social media issues that companies are encountering. Websense tackles the problems with a web social control solution that was launched in October 2011. Websense’s new features include more control over employee’s social media usage and bandwidth control.

As a leader in the web filtering market, Websense introduced new URL categories to be included into its web gateway solution therefore combining a more powerful solution that will enhance how employees utilize the web today. Websense can analyze and classify within these 5 new URL categories and can determine to allow access, quota or block:

New URL categories

  • Dynamic DNS Category- These sites will mask their identity and use Dynamic DNS services and they can be associated with advanced persistent threats (APTs)
  • Viral Video Category – sites that host rapidly popular videos
  • Surveillance- Sites that enable real- time monitoring from network cameras, webcams and other video recording devices. Ex. Organizations can allow parents to view cameras set at the day care rather than block them all together
  • Entertainment Video Category – sites that host videos for entertainment content
  • Education Video Category – sites that hose academic or instructional videos

Websense’s new social web controls also offers organization more control over how employees can access a social media website such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or YouTube. The organization can allow an employee to access the site- read comments, but not post anything. The features can also help monitor and control what is being accessed by the employee. Social web controls includes 30 unique controls with 11 dedicated just for Facebook. Since Facebook is constantly changing, Websense offers organizations to block and make granular changes in real- time. Websense can look within a script and offer parts to block and keep open. Doing real- time analysis within a script has differentiated Websense from other web filtering vendors offering social networking sites. Websense continues to work diligently in improving its social networking controls. Recently the company partnered with Facebook to help protect users against clicking on any bad URL links which can lead to malware. The threat landscape quickly changes every day and I believe Websense has what it takes to help organizations enjoy a safe social networking experience.

Martha Gomez Vazquez is occasionally allowed out of her cube, but if not then she can be reached by e-mail martha.vazquez@frost.com

 

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