Network Computing is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

FaceTime's RTGuardian

The Upshot

FaceTime's RTGuardian appliance stops IP phone apps such as Skype, as well as P2P and IM applications, all of which can be problematic when voice and text communications, file transfers, security and bandwidth must be controlled.

Peer-to-peer communications programs--IM, IP phone and file-sharing apps--push uncontrolled data across limited bandwidth and introduce serious security risks. Unmonitored content can break confidentiality and copyright rules, and viruses and worms can travel without detection if safeguards aren't in place. Skype, whose IP phone software hides in plain sight, is especially adept at undermining firewalls. To secure the network and reclaim bandwidth, it's critical to identify the protocol's behavior and keep close tabs on the "supernodes" that Skype uses in lieu of a single server.

Credibility: On a university network loaded with international VoIP traffic, RTGuardian successfully blocked Skype 2.0 and 2.5, P2P applications, IM and spyware. The product was a cinch to set up and use, but needs some improvements in reporting and more fine-grained information and control.

FaceTimE RTGuardian

30-day free trial. Otherwise starts at $2,500 for the RTG-100 model (up to 500 users)

The best peer-to-peer communications applications provide free, user-friendly and high-quality voice, video, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities. That word free makes these apps appealing to individuals and small businesses looking to save money on long-distance calls. But companies that must regulate and log internal and external communications and data transfers find them--particularly Skype, with its carefully engineered ability to get past the corporate firewall--a menace.

FaceTime Communications' RTGuardian (Real-Time Guardian) blocks Skype, something your firewall simply can't do. Although RTGuardian can't replace your firewall, it can enhance your ability to filter unwanted data from your network. RTGuardian also can help you stop IM and P2P apps that can be challenging for firewalls to detect and block. And, RTGuardian monitors and stops spyware.

Why Skype Scares

  • 1