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Blue Coat Offers Simpler, More Effective DLP Appliance

Blue Coat Systems is branching out into data loss prevention (DLP) with today's introduction of three new appliances intended make DLP simpler and more effective to use. The new appliances are aimed at a major pain point for businesses that want to protect sensitive documents, files and other data, but find existing DLP systems so complex that they just give up, leaving their data and their businesses at risk.

Industrywide, DLP adoption rates among enterprises are as low as 33 percent, according to Nemertes Research, because existing systems are too expensive, too complicated to acquire and deploy, and too difficult to maintain, said Bob Hansmann, senior product marketing manager at Blue Coat. "The hassles to operate [are] very time consuming and very complex," Hansmann said.

DLP software may need a separate server for each feature, including e-mail DLP, Web DLP, discovery DLP (for searching a network for files stored where they should not be, given their sensitivity), and other features. Often, the servers needed to run DLP may not be the same platform the company has standardized on for its other IT. Also, some DLP solutions need a separate database to connect to, meaning additional expense. Once deployed, managing a DLP system can be complicated as rules change or have to be reconciled with other rules in other departments or under different compliance requirements.

According to Hansmann, enterprises face the choice of a solution that covers all contingencies but is too complex and expensive to be useful, or a simpler to manage solution that is too ineffective to be useful. Blue Coat's DLP appliances try to be both effective and easy to manage. "We're trying to position this as [a way] you can achieve compliance without all the complexity. We're trying to fit in between those two extremes," Hansmann said.

The DLP appliances are designed to work in conjunction with Blue Coat's ProxySG secure Web gateway, that filters Web traffic in both directions so malware doesn't get in and employees don't send out company documents via e-mail that are restricted because they contain customer data, financial information or come under some compliance rules. Blue Coat sees the largest, though not the only, market opportunity for the appliances to be among its existing Web gateway users "because they are the ones who've been asking us for it," Hansmann said.

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