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Cisco Boosts Web-based Usage Reporting, Adds E-mail DLP, Encryption Service

Cisco Systems is enhancing its hosted security services with extensive business intelligence reporting for Internet usage and email DLP/encryption. The Web reporting piece, Web Intelligence Reporting (WIRe), upgrades the existing Web security and Web filtering services from ScanSafe, which was acquired by Cisco in October 2009.

Cisco Ironport E-mail Data Loss Prevention and Encryption is a additional paid option for its Hosted E-mail Security service. The DLP-encryption service is an alternative to the hybrid model that Cisco and other E-mail security vendors have been offering, where companies outsource inbound E-mail antispam/antivirus filtering and retain appliance-based control of outbound messaging to keep sensitive data in-house. Cisco says a number of its customers have been asking the hosted option. "We initially thought the hybrid model would be sufficient," said Amanda Holdan, product manager for E-mail Security. "But customers said they want DLP and encryption in cloud, so they can get the full benefits of cloud without losing control and visibility." Holdan said that the DLP service meets the needs of organizations using hosted mailboxes as well as those with on-premise E-mail.

Policy-based encryption is one of a number of options available for DLP. Companies can also choose to passively monitor activity, alert admins, quarantine and block messages, or alert end users and give them the option to allow, stop or review possible policy violations. The new Web reporting engine, WIRe, is designed to provide a lot of Internet-usage data quickly in a detailed, customizable dashboard. "Before, we could get basic reports about where users were going," said Paul Moorman, IT strategist for Miamisburg, Ohio-based printing paper manufacturer NewPage Corp., a ScanSafe customer which has been beta testing WIRe. "Now we can report on a huge amount of data."  Moorman WIRe's speed is a sea-change over previous ScanSafe reporting. "One of biggest things is you can start seeing what's going on with a five-minute lag," he said. "Before, it was 'yesterday.' I can see what people are doing in near-real time.

The dashboard provides high-level information on things like most visited sites to drilling down on individual user activity. There are 50 canned reports and 75 attributes on which to perform custom queries. You can add or remove columns to view the information you are interestedin, or convert it into a rotating pie chart.

Cisco says the demand for Internet-specific business intelligence reflects the changing corporate environment. "There's a general move to business intelligence tools, to have better understanding of risk and get insight into different aspects of business," said Garry Scott, ScanSafe product marketing manager. "You get a global view of data quicker and make fact-based decisions."

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