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There have been a variety of changes since we reviewed Vital Security in September 2005. It sports a much improved GUI, with streamlined navigation and configuration wizards. Web filtering engines provide stronger detection, offering a choice between Websense and IBM Proventia.
Following the excellent documentation, we initialized the appliance through a shell command line interface, choosing to do host management, scanning and reporting on the same box. The appliance can be used as an ICAP server to work with caching proxies.
The improved Web-based GUI offers a clean tabbed layout for managing users, policies, logs and reports, and administration. The help tab provided quick access to an extensive knowledge base. We really like the dashboard, which offers one-click access to quickly assess the overall status of traffic on the network.
We love the choice between simplified and advanced security policies. Vital Security ships with several predefined security policies--basic, medium, strict, emergency and X-ray.
The first three are part of the simplified security policy. The emergency policy is attached to a panic button that would lock down traffic in the event of a severe Internet virus outbreak. The X-ray policy allowed us to test policies prior to going live.
Advanced security policies let us create much more granular rules and conditions regarding how active content is handled, but we found it challenging to correctly place our rules in the cascading security policies tree so they performed correctly.
There are multiple options for handling flagged content. The most lenient is to allow it. We could also temporarily block content through the coach option, which flashed a warning message to the end user. You configure a custom message for blocked content.
This was first published in October 2008