Great Filter, Easy Reporting
March 30, 2017
Great Filter, Easy Reporting
Score 9 out of 10
Overall Satisfaction with Websense Web Filter & Security
We use Websense Web Filter & Security to prevent users from accessing certain types of websites, set time quotas for certain types of sites such as shopping, prevent certain types of protocols and in general as a logging system to track how users are spending their time on the internet. It has been an extremely valuable IT & HR tool for our company.
- It tracks user activity, which means our HR department has a tool to report on certain users' activities when their productivity vs. internet surfing habits are in question. The reports are pretty simple to create and view and the ability to export to Excel has been useful. The ability to automatically generate and email these reports on a schedule has been useful at times too.
- The ability to set quotas, such as users are allowed to spend 30minutes per day on Facebook or 30minutes a day on shopping sites, which displays the quota for the user when they enter such a site, has been a valuable reminder of our company policies for such activity.
- The ability to prevent certain types of protocols for certain groups of users, such as group xyz is not allowed on FTP sites, or only https, has allowed to consider and set security parameters for different groups of users.
- The ability to easily override any group policy setting for a certain individual if an immediate need for something outside the box arises has been useful. If a certain user is temporarily filling in for another person on vacation and needs additional internet access with less restrictions, we just call out that user specifically in the software and apply a different policy, then easily remove that the following week.
- While the reports are easy to generate, analyzing the data can be challenging. For example, it records every hit on a webpage, so for something like Facebook, every time the page refreshes itself or changes an ad etc. it records it. So, if a user goes to Facebook and actually clicks on two things to read, it could end up showing the had forty clicks, which makes it challenging to HR to determine where the line of "extreme usage" actually is based on these skewed reports.
- We have had three times in 8 years where the software had a table that got corrupted that synchs data from AD, so the usernames were not available for reporting. We had to run reports for a while based on IP address, which could change frequently since we're DHCP like most companies, so the data in the reports were essentially useless during this period. Support helped us solve the issue, but each time it took about a week.
- Support has managed to solve every problem, issue or questions we've had, but it has been slower than most of our vendors. Where we typically get same day support from almost everyone, most Websense support tickets have been 1) open a ticket wait for a call back, 2) get an email requesting more data.. wait, 3) get an email requesting a time to work with us.. wait, 4) get a confirmation than actually get on a shared session to work, 5) be told they had logs to review first or needed to do research and would get back to us in a day or two... 6) more emails... 7) finally an email resolution or screen share to walk us through the resolution or setting change. Typically this was a 3 to 5 day turn around time. Since it's not a critical system for us, though extremely useful, it's not been a bid deal here.
- We have been able to curb user habits through HR and through the built in quotas for certain website categories, which has led to less user surfing time.
- We have seen certain types of potentially malicious websites blocks where users have clicked on something unaware and been prevented from accessing based on certain types of protocol blocks IT put in place.
- We have also been able to monitor bandwidth usage per user and when we had spikes on our network saturation reports from our ISP, we could tell who was causing the usage issue and address it with the individual, which allowed to determine if we needed to scale up with additional bandwidth or if we just had a user(s) hogging all the bandwidth for streaming media and causing a false sense of usage for the company as a whole. This has saved us money by allowing us to maintain the right size pipes with our ISP.
We watched several demos from other providers when we originally purchased Websense, but it's been over 8 years now, so I don't remember which ones we compared. I do know that at the time, Websense's reporting options were much better and more granular than the others.
This software is extremely well suited to environments that want to prevent certain categories of website access for their users or do reporting on internet usage. An HR person will need technical assistance in making sense of most of the reports and analyzing what the data in the reports actually means, so for companies without an IT person in house that can explain such things, I think this software would be challenging for HR reporting purposes use only.
Using Websense Web Filter & Security
130 - We use Websense for all of our users. IT actually manages and logs in to do the reporting, then helps translate the reports for HR.
1 - It does not require extreme technical knowledge, a good understanding of protocols, Active Directory and ability to interpret web hits is all that is really needed. Once it's installed, a simple SQL database maintenance plan and backup strategy is set once and then there's very little ongoing support or maintenance needs from an IT perspective needed.
- Company policy and compliance
- HR user reviews
- Protocol/Category website prevention
- We have a policy that says users can surf the internet during their lunch break. So we set a quota policy that allows a user to go to shopping sites, but it tells them when they do they have a 30 minute usage for the day. It reminds them of the policy and then after the 30 minutes prevents them from going to other shopping sites that day, enforcing the policy if they attempt to violate it.
It's easy to use, easy to setup and maintain and their new Forcepoint hosted solution includes new security features that will sandbox a website and test it for malicious code prior to passing it through to the user machine. This is an excellent cyber security prevention technique and we will be upgrading to this shortly.