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How can I provide a proven, flexible way to control and apply content-based protection policies for

How can I provide a proven, flexible way to control and apply content-based protection policies for network bandwidth, other than using a bluecoat proxy?

How can I provide a proven, flexible way to control and apply content-based protection policies for network bandwidth, other than using a bluecoat proxy?

There are several options for enforcing content-based policy protection. Bluecoat is a familiar one, as well as offerings from other companies like Websense. While these layer 7 content filters are great for filtering out behavior-based activities (visiting forbidden sites, etc), they do not help to enforce policy around bandwidth usage. Options for controlling bandwidth utilization include QoS (which can be very challenging to accurately implement) and packet shaping technologies offered by companies including Packeteer. The ideal solution would be a layer 7 application classification technology that shaped traffic.

The current buzz focuses on expanding the capabilities of firewalls and other perimetral devices operating at layer 3-4 to perform analysis at layer 6-7. For example, 3com is investing a lot in this area. ILM (Information Life-Management) is the umbrella to this. The underlying idea is very simple: You tag content with a set of flags that indicate priority/severity/access permission. Unfortunately, this is easier talked about than accomplished.

This was last published in May 2006

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