In a bid to give corporations more control over Web surfing in their organisations, Netscape is adding technology to its Web server offerings that allows IS managers to limit the external sites that can be accessed from within an intranet.
Netscape this week will announce that it has integrated access to Secure Computing's Webster Control List in its latest release of Proxy Server, Version 2.5, via its WebTrack filtering software.
Webster Control List, developed by Secure Computing's Webster Network Strategies subsidiary, is a URL-filtering application that lets administrators control employee access to specific Web site categories such as sports, sex, job search and entertainment.
Despite free speech and privacy considerations, this technology is becoming increasingly important as corporations look to limit any liability they might incur because of people accessing external sites.
Microsoft has also endorsed Secure Computing's technology, announcing last week that Proxy Server customers can receive Webster Control List as an add-on for a free three-month subscription.
"These URL filters will probably evolve and the control will go from the self-appointed righteous to the hands of local corporations and who they choose to be their gatekeepers," says Harry Fenik, an analyst at Zona Research, in Redwood City, California. "Corporations will say, `These are the companies we deal with and that's where you can surf and then these are the places we don't want you going.'"
The Webster URL-filtering technology is one component of Secure Computing's integrated Internet and network security application suite to be announced this week.
The suite includes firewall servers, centralised management, and auditing tools, as well as identification, authorisation and encryption software. It is designed to secure electronic commerce applications and employee access to and from internal networks.
Roseville, Minnesota-based Secure Computing tailors its security systems to individual enterprises and pricing will vary according to the configuration.
Analysts say Secure Computing's recent acquisitions, including Enigma Logic and Border Network Technologies, put it in a unique position to offer integrated security. "Firewalls are only one solution and not a very good one," says Jerry Michaelski, managing editor of Release 1.0, a New York-based newsletter. "Companies need a more highly evolved model that incorporates many different kinds of security layers, and that's where Secure Computing is headed."