SurfControl Takes On Spyware

Called SurfControl Enterprise Threat Shield, the software provides features and signature databases for protecting against known malware, but it also can be custom-programmed by solution providers to adapt and respond to new threats on the fly, said Jim Murphy, director of product marketing at SurfControl, Scotts Valley, Calif.

SurfControl Enterprise Threat Shield fits into the vendor's broad Enterprise Protection Suite. It costs $30 per user per year in deployments of 100 users, and the price drops to $17 per user per year for a 1,000-user installation, Murphy said.

SurfControl's new product is unique in that it's designed to thwart malware with enterprise administration in mind, said Robert Duchouquette, director of technical services at SBS Security, a Dallas-based security solution provider that represents several different products in the antispyware category. SurfControl Enterprise Threat Shield can act at the gateway level to detect and remove spyware before it has a chance to install itself on desktop clients, he said.

"There really hasn't been a good enterprise-grade solution for this," Duchouquette said.

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Moreover, the software is proactive in helping companies develop and implement strategies for handling employees' on-the-job use of applications such as instant messaging or even online gaming. It includes a browser watch feature that provides a more accurate measure of how much time users are spending on certain Web sites, Duchouquette said.

"It really enforces corporate computing policies at every level," he said.

SurfControl Enterprise Threat Shield has four layers of scanning for malicious applications, including WriteWatch, which checks writes to local storage. Other key features include centralized deployment and reporting that dovetails with LDAP and Active Directory, as well as other directory services; Custom Threat Shield, for building custom databases; and the ability to create policies for music and video file management.