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The appliances - VIEW (Vericept Intelligent Early Warning) for Network Security, VIEW for Information Protection and VIEW for Custom Analysis - use Vericept's linguistic and mathematical analysis technology to watch for user-defined policy violations.
The boxes are all 1U (4.45 centimetres) rack-mountable appliances running Linux and Vericept's software, said Mike Reagan, senior vice-president of marketing at Vericept. The devices plug into network switches and save copies of all the traffic that passes through them to provide analysis.
Unlike some content monitoring systems, Vericept's technology does not rely solely on keywords to pinpoint trouble, but rather uses words and categories and places them in context to help determine the difference between, for example, a reference to one team "killing" another in a sporting event and an actual threat of bodily harm involving company personnel, Reagan said.
All types of inappropriate content, as defined by the user, are logged or screen captured, whether they are sent via HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) - the protocol used to send Web pages, FTP (File Transfer Protocol), instant messaging or other types of network traffic, Reagan said. The logs are connected to the employee violating policies by a username, e-mail address or workstation name, he said.
The VIEW for Network Security appliance is designed to give administrators early warnings of hack attempts, especially internal attempts. The appliance can watch for port scans - often one of the first stages in preparing for an attack, scan material as it is being downloaded to determine whether it is attack code, and attempt to access unauthorised files or systems, in addition to the rules-based content scanning.
VIEW for Network Security costs $9,995 (£6,959) per appliance and is available immediately worldwide.
VIEW for Information Protection is designed to help companies ensure that their employees are complying with acceptable usage policies. The appliance also monitors network traffic for disclosure of confidential company information and other information-security breaches. The device costs $2,500 (£1,740) with an additional fee based on the number of workstations monitored, starting at $20 (£14) per workstation, and is available immediately.
Lastly, VIEW for Custom Analysis allows companies to get greater analysis and reporting on data collected by Vericept technology. VIEW for Custom Analysis can be used as a standalone device or in conjunction with Vericept's other appliances. The box costs $5,000 (£3,481).
Some financial services companies have had to ban the use of chat programs since there has been no easy way to monitor and log conversations using them, which could lead to legal trouble for those companies.