ServGate & SurfControl Secure Web

Californian startup boosts its security story in an attempt to meet a growing need for Web filtering technology

June 12, 2004

3 Min Read
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ServGate Technologies Inc. will add new security features to its flagship EdgeForce application gateway products next week, at a time when users are demanding a broader range of protection from online threats.

The Milpitas, Calif.-based company will now add Web filtering software from SurfControl plc to the security features already contained within the EdgeForce, which include firewall and VPN services and anti-virus applications.

Controlling access to the Internet is a big issue for firms and public sector organizations at the moment. In addition to preventing access to inappropriate sites, there is also the threat of employees downloading Websites that contain viruses or worms. There are also regulatory challenges to be met, such as the Childrens Internet Protection Act, which aims to ensure that educational establishments have technology in place to prevent children from viewing inappropriate content -- or risk losing federal funding.

Lawrence Orans, principal analyst at Gartner Inc.,says, “Internet content filtering is extremely high priority. There are legal liability issues involved, and firms do not want their employees wasting time.”

By extending the EdgeForce’s content inspection technology to HTTP and FTP protocols, ServGate says that firms can now screen URLs in real-time, without the need for a local database server to store the URLs. Instead, a master URL database is hosted by SurfControl and replicated to the EdgeForce box via the Internet. Organizations can then use this information to set rules for the Web content that can be accessed by network users.Of course, ServGate is not the only security company playing in this space. Last month Fortinet Inc. announced its new FortiGuard Web Filtering Service, which works in conjunction with the FortiGate and FortiWiFi firewalls to filter content (see Fortinet Enhances Firewalls).

ServGate’s offering provides access to a database containing 6.3 million URLs, encompassing over 1.2 billion Web pages. Fortinet’s URL database at the time of the FortiGuard launch contained over 5 million URLs.

Increasingly, hardware manufacturers are consolidating security software into their products (see Cisco Teams Up With Trend Micro). ServGate, for example, already offers spam and virus filtering engines from McAfee in its EdgeForce product.

There is good reason for vendors to jostle for pole position at the moment. Earlier this week, a study from Infonetics Research Inc. revealed that the market for firewall products is growing at a rapid rate (see Security Spending Shoots Up).

Infonetics found that hardware and software revenues for firewalls and VPNs were up 11 percent from the last quarter of 2003, to reach $733 million in the first quarter of 2004. This figure is expected to grow to $823 million in the first quarter of next year.Gartner's Orans believes the market for Web content filtering will also grow rapidly over the coming years. “It’s definitely not going away," he says. "You’re going to have more consolidation: It will move from being just URL filtering to filtering peer-to-peer traffic and some instant messaging content."

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-gen Data Center Forum

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