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This article is part of our Buyer's Guide: Network security basics: A Buyer's Guide

Blue Coat ProxySG: Secure Web gateway overview

With features like authentication and Web filtering, the Blue Coat ProxySG secure Web gateway can be deployed as a physical appliance, a virtual machine or a cloud-based service.

Editor's Note: This Blue Coat ProxySG secure Web gateway overview is part of a series on buying network security products for the enterprise. The series explores the evolution of network security and lays out some major use cases. It also looks at the buying criteria for network security products and compares the leading network security vendors in the market.

Blue Coat's secure Web gateway (SWG), the ProxySG, is among the leading products in the SWG marketplace.

Like its competitors, Blue Coat ProxySG is equipped with user authentication, Web filtering, data loss prevention and inspection. But Blue Coat has engineered additional features into its SWG, most notably the WebPulse Collaborative Defense, which provides real-time defense through the vendor's global threat network. The company also boasts being the only SWG vendor to offer what it calls "negative-day defense." This uses a combination of monitoring and the correlation of global malware network movements to prevent zero-day exploits by blocking attacks before they ever take place.

Additionally, Blue Coat offers a separate licensed feature for SSL-encrypted taps to provide visibility into SSL-encrypted Web traffic that a customer determines it wants to see. With many other vendors, this functionality is all or nothing.

SWG platform options

Blue Coat ProxySG can be deployed as a hardware appliance, virtual machine (VM) or cloud service. Each product provides identical functions in differing enterprise network environments.

Blue Coat ProxySG appliance options

Blue Coat offers seven different models for various-sized enterprises. At the low end of the spectrum is the SG 300-5, which supports up to 40 users. This device is tailored to smaller remote offices that have their own Internet connectivity. The appliance has 2 GB of memory, a single 250 GB hard disk drive (HDD) and two 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet ports with bypass capabilities to protect against server failures.

In the middle of the pack is the SG S400-20. This is suitable for up to 6,000 users. It's equipped with three 1 TB HDDs, 16 GB of memory, multiple connectivity options, including 1 Gb and 10 Gb copper or fiber interfaces, and can be ordered with or without bypass capabilities.

Blue Coat’s carrier-grade SWG is the SG 9000. The appliance can support a virtually unlimited number of users. In terms of performance, the appliance contains 64 GB of RAM, 15 1 TB disk drives and a broad array of 1 Gb and 10 Gb connectivity options -- both copper and fiber.

Blue Coat ProxySG VM options

Blue Coat currently offers a single VM server option, which is called the VA-100. A single instance can support up to 1,000 users. The VA-100 can be licensed in 25, 50, 100, 250, 500 and 1,000 user increments. The appliance runs in VMware ESX or ESXi environments and requires at least a single core CPU, 4 GB of memory and 200 GB of disk space.

Blue Coat Cloud service options

Blue Coat's cloud service is designed to be flexible and easy to implement. Only minor modifications are necessary to begin sending corporate Web traffic to the cloud SWG for inspection and protection. If needed, an optional, lightweight desktop software agent can be installed on corporate and BYOD devices to protect users that are outside of the enterprise network.

Pricing and support

Blue Coat ProxySG hardware, software and services are available through the Blue Coat global partner network.  List pricing for hardware appliances ranges between $6,500 for the SG300 to more than $200,000 for a SG9000 appliance. The VA-100 virtual appliance is priced between $1,200 and $50,000, depending on the number of users, for a one-year license. Cloud services are priced between $25 and $60 per user, depending upon the number of machines monitored. Blue Coat offers five different support tiers. All include unlimited 24/7 telephone support, access to a customer portal and unlimited access to patches and software releases. Blue Coat's premium support tiers are classified by the amount of time replacement hardware is shipped to a customer.

Next Steps

Learn how secure Web gateways differ from email gateways.

Read our article on the basics of email security gateways.

Discover how security gateways can help your enterprise.

Learn how to deploy secure Web gateways.

This was last published in November 2015

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