Fortinet Launches Web Filtering Service

The service, dubbed FortiGuard, employs a managed services model and enables enterprises to allow or deny content previously analyzed by Fortinet. It was announced Monday at this week's Network Interop conference in Las Vegas.

Rick Kagan, director of marketing at the Sunnyvale, Calif., vendor, said the service is perfect for enterprises interested in snuffing out spyware and browser-based attacks, or for those firms interested in restricting the Web sites employees can visit on company time. He added that FortiGuard eliminates the need for enterprises to invest in local database servers.

"To have different organizations try to analyze these Web sites versus one doing it for the benefit of all just seemed silly to us," he said. "Security has gotten too complicated for many organizations to manage themselves, and we're hoping to help them out."

As Kagan explained, the FortiGuard service is an add-on to firewall products in the vendor's FortiGate line. Customers sign up and receive access to an "In-the-Cloud" delivery model maintained by Fortinet in hosting locations across the country. The model filters content based on 80 different categories in a database of more than 5 million URLs.

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Once customers subscribe to the service, they access a user-friendly Web interface and select which types of Web content they want to allow or block. Then FortiGate units query the FortiGuard database over the Internet in realtime to determine which categories are matched by a particular Web page.

If a page meets the customer's content policy requirements, the service grants access; if the page fails to meet requirements, the service denies access and sends users to an alternate page. FortiGuard services also logs requests for further analysis.

According to Kagan, Fortinet updates its database continuously, eliminating the need for customers to update acceptable URLs on their own. The service also works in concert with the FortiGate unit's built-in Web content filtering capabilities, which scan Web pages for banned keywords and phrases in HTML content.

"With our service, you can have a flexible policy that's tightly coupled with the rest of your enterprise," Kagan said. "The result is a lower cost of ownership for everyone."

Kagan said the FortiGuard filtering solution will be distributed with a per-box pricing model on an annual subscription basis. Pricing was not immediately available, but Kagan noted that the service is expected to be available to channel partners by the end of the quarter.