Blue Coat ProxyOne Appliance review

Blue Coat's new ProxyOne Appliance provides enterprise-level web security for SMBs with limited IT expertise. Blue Coat claims installation is a simple six-step process with minimal ongoing maintenance. We put it to the test to see how well it performs and if it really is easy to use.

Cyberoam's CR750ai which is better value but nowhere near as easy to install as the ProxyOne.

Remote workers also come under Blue Coat's remit as the ProxyClient software can be installed directly from the appliance. We tested this with Windows 7 client systems where the software received the filtering policies from the appliance and applied them locally. We found the ProxyClient simple to deploy and it can be password protected to stop users removing it from their computers.A local web interface shows blocked sites and also has an option to check for policy updates.

The appliance's configuration web page keeps you posted on all traffic activity with a big pie chart showing monitored protocols including HTTP, HTTPS and FTP. The adjacent line graph can show activity for the last year right up to the past hour while bandwidth savings from the appliance cache are also calculated for you.

We found the appliance cache to be very effective and tested it by downloading a 20MB file from our external FTP test site. Initially, this took over ten minutes to complete, but subsequent runs with the file now cached only took a few seconds.

Blue Coat's reporting is very detailed. The separate console provides a slick dashboard showing all web browsing behaviour, the most blocked sites, detected malware and viruses as well as PCs that are showing signs of being infected. Select any of these and more graphs plus detailed tables of information are provided.

Blue Coat includes a set of predefined reports on areas such as browsing trends, the most blocked sites or users, security threats and so on and these can be scheduled to run regularly. You can also create custom reports, fine tune them with filters and archive the results.

Blue Coat's ProxyOne scores highly for its ease of use as it's a cinch to install and configure. Content filtering performance is excellent and it looks good value for mid-sized businesses that want powerful security at their network gateway that's also easy to manage.

So what's our verdict?

Verdict

The ProxyOne Appliance delivers on Blue Coat’s claims as we found it simple to install and required only minimal ongoing management. Smaller businesses with a workforce numbering in the low hundreds will find it comparatively expensive, but value increases with higher user counts. Furthermore, its web filtering performed very well in our lab tests and it offers detailed reporting facilities. Including the ProxyClient as standard is also a valuable feature as it can centrally manage your mobile worker’s browsing habits. The Cyberoam CR750ai is clearly a better choice is you want a complete UTM solution, but if you just want easily deployed web security and don’t want extra features such as anti-spam and firewalling then the ProxyOne is a good choice.

Chassis: 1U rack Processor: 2.53GHz Intel Xeon E5540 Memory: 18GB DDR3 Network: Four-port Gigabit Ethernet PCI Express adapter with hardware bypass Storage: 2 x 1TB Seagate Constellation 6Gbit/s SAS in RAID 1 mirror Power: 2 x 650W hot-plug supplies Other: Cavium Nitrox PCI Express hardware accelerator Management: Web browser

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