Set It and Forget It Web Filter
November 12, 2020

Set It and Forget It Web Filter

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Symantec WebFilter / Intelligence Services

We use a couple of these systems, one for the kiosk computers on campus, to keep the browsing limited to appropriate and safe sites for our students. We utilize a second system for our network servers, this is used in an unorthodox fashion - as an internet black hole that only allows a very limit number of sites to prevent server admins from using servers to browse the web from a server, other than to download necessary patches from approved vendor sites.
  • Excellent at preventing unwanted browsing and malicious sites
  • Great reporting, useful to see potential issues and/or sites that may need to be reviewed for potential whitelisting.
  • Perfect system for kiosk environments, limiting browsing to local on-network sites until the user authenticates
  • The admin interface would be better off not using Java
  • Setting up SSL properly can be a bit challenging
  • Could really use a better source for training, like a library of how-to videos
  • Helps maintain network security and prevents malicious browsing
  • Helps to prevent dangerous internet usage from network servers
  • Relatively low cost means fast ROI with drastically reduced security response costs
Symantec WebFilter / Intelligence Services solution was a simple 1U appliance that does everything we need, compared to the Forcepoint solution which required a virtual appliance, a database server, a log server, and a management server - the licensing costs alone make the Symantec WebFilter / Intelligence Services solution a clear winner. The Forcepoint solution is really good, it just requires such a big footprint without delivering much beyond what the Symantec WebFilter / Intelligence Services solution does with a single unit.
I really like the system, it's easy to use and mostly intuitive. I would have gone 10/10, but the management interface uses Java, and that seems to always make things a bit harder to start. Once everything is loaded and running, it's great - but it does require me to maintain a compatible version of Java on the machine I use to access the system, I'd be much happier with some kind of HTML5 interface.

I also deducted 1 point for the functionality of the refer filter - it works as expected, but if the site isn't coded with the correct refer header, like Microsoft's site - then some page elements get stripped and pages only render about 98% correctly. I know that's not in Symantec's list of responsibilities, but having a filter that doesn't fully understand CDNs is worth the 1 point ding.
I've had exactly 1 problem in 8 years, I contacted support via the customer portal, less than an hour later I found myself in a screen share with a support tech who not only fixed my configuration error, but also took the time to ask about my usage and offered some great tips on changes. It was just one support incident, but I was impressed by the speed of response to a non-critical issue as well as the depth of product knowledge the support engineer had.

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Microsoft Teams, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), Veritas Backup Exec
In a large environment, this is the perfect system. If you do not have constant changes, it easily becomes a system you drop in place and rarely have to think about. Our units have been rock solid and have never experienced any unexpected downtime, and upgrades are just a couple button clicks to deploy, or roll back.

For small offices, with minimal traffic this may be using a sledgehammer to put in a push pin. It will work great, but the devices is likely over engineered for small offices (<50 people). That being said, price-wise it's still a great solution when compared to competing products and being from Symantec, you know it's going to be around and support for the long term.