With the iPrism Internet Filtering Appliance, St Bernard has moved away from its software-only policy. This was necessary because hardware offers a more flexible, plug-and-play solution to the problem of managing Net access, according to St Bernard's president and CEO John Jones.
"We looked at the current software solutions and decided that they are too complex to purchase and install," said Jones. "With the iPrism appliance, deployment is simply a case of connecting the box in line with the Internet router and connecting up a power supply."
Analyst firm IDC estimates that 30% to 40% of employee Internet activity is non-business related. The US Department of Labor has calculated that this wasted time costs companies up to $3,000 per employee annually. IPrism can help reduce this loss by preventing access to undesirable sites or restricting access to particular times of the day, such as lunchtime or outside working hours.
The unit is managed remotely and St Bernard keeps subscribers updated on sites that may pose a threat on a daily basis. The company does this by sending spiders out across the Web to find sites that may be undesirable. These are then checked manually by the company and categorised before being dispatched to subscribers. On receipt, a manager can accept the list and install it or select their own subset of controlled sites.
Trevor Duplock, UK director of sales and marketing at St Bernard, said the advantage of the filtering appliance is that, unlike software packages, the system does not have to be reconfigured when other devices are changed, moved, or added elsewhere on the network.