NetSpective's Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What are the key benefits of the NetSpective solution?

  • Flexible configuration
  • Dynamic multi-technology URL categorization
  • Signature-based blocking of protocols
  • Comprehensive reporting
  • Performance
  • Low total cost of ownership

What is NetSpective Internet Filtering Solution?

NetSpective Internet Filtering Solution is a suite of Internet filtering products that gives enterprises and educational institutions the tools needed to tailor access to URLs, file sharing protocols, instant messaging protocols, Skype, and streaming media applications. NetSpective's suite of Internet filtering products can be purchased independently or together as a comprehensive solution. The products include NetSpective WebFilter, NetSpective P2PFilter, and NetAuditor.

What does NetSpective WebFilter do?

NetSpective WebFilter groups millions of potentially objectionable Web sites in more than 60 URL categories and enables users to block access to any of these categories for any employee, any group of employees, any department, or any branch office.

What does NetSpective P2PFilter do?

NetSpective P2PFilter relies on a technology called signature-based blocking to stop Internet traffic that is using any of several specific protocols known to be used by peer-to-peer, instant messaging, and streaming media applications.

What does dynamic multi-technology categorization mean?

NetSpective relies on several categorization technologies to group URLs. These include human review, a licensed contextual URL filtering engine, internally developed neural net analysis programs, and automated recognition of content labels generated by the Internet Content Rating Association which Web developers often put on their sites. In addition, to ensure that categories are continually refreshed with new URLs, NetSpective relies on a technology called Adaptive Filtering that automatically logs accesses by existing NetSpective users to URLs that are not included in the existing NetSpective categorized database. These URLs are then categorized, added to the NetSpective database, and an updated database is automatically sent to every customer.

Technical Questions

How does NetSpective achieve its unprecedented performance?

NetSpective relies on a firewall-independent technology called SideScan filtering, that reviews every packet of information that goes out to the Web — including HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, NNTP, Skype, Chat, Peer-To-Peer and Streaming Media — and stops those destined for Web sites or file sharing applications that have been blocked. Operating in much the same manner as a network sniffer that scans all network traffic, NetSpective's high-performance SideScan filtering technology can accurately filter a full 100 Mbps of bandwidth, as much as two-times the bandwidth possible with other vendor's Internet filters. SideScan filtering eliminates bottlenecks that often occur with other filtering technologies.

Where is NetSpective installed on the network?

The NetSpective appliance is connected to the same network segment as the users it will monitor. This is the simplest possible network configuration - one Network Address Translation (NAT) point (at the router), and a single non-switched internal network segment. Other configurations are possible depending on specific needs. NetSpective can be deployed behind a firewall or Internet gateway, or in a DMZ with valid public addresses behind a packet filtering router.

How does NetSpective enable a flexible solution configuration?

NetSpective's suite of Internet filtering products can be purchased independently or together as a comprehensive solution. Furthermore, any individual product can be added at any time and can be easily integrated with other NetSpective Internet Filtering products, or those from other vendors.

How does NetSpective P2PFilter complement an installed URL filtering solution?

NetSpective P2PFilter is an ideal complement to an existing URL filtering solution. Competing solutions typically require add-ons, pass-by sensors and/or separate machines for P2P/IM/Streaming media filtering anyway. NetSpective P2PFilter controls P2P/IM/Streaming media traffic in parallel with a third-party URL filter. No network reconfiguration is required and P2PFilter doesn't add a potential point of failure. NetSpective P2PFilter is typically far less expensive than competitors' P2P/IM add-on modules. NetSpective P2PFilter can also be upgraded later to include integrated URL filtering if needed.

How does NetSpective complement products such as firewalls, proxy servers or bandwidth management?

NetSpective is independent of these network devices and doesn't interfere with their operation. Although these devices can serve as content filtering platforms, it's a secondary function that complicates management and pulls resources away from their primary mission. By offloading and centralizing the content filtering burden, NetSpective helps these devices function more efficiently and effectively. This helps maximize network security and performance. It also simplifies configuration and maintenance effort.

Report Questions

Just how comprehensive are NetAuditor's reports?

NetAuditor, included with NetSpective WebFilter and NetSpective P2PFilter, lets companies analyze the Web surfing and file sharing activities of their employees – either individually or in groups – before deciding which traffic to filter. These reports enable them to accurately determine the most critical categories and applications to filter.

Which report formats does NetAuditor support?

NetAuditor supports Adobe PDF, Microsoft CHM (the reader is a standard component of the Microsoft Windows operating system), Microsoft Excel and Comma-Separated report formats.

Can I schedule reports with NetAuditor?

Yes, NetAuditor makes it easy to generate reports at any user-defined interval.

Sales Questions

Why does NetSpective feature such a low total cost of ownership?

NetSpective has a low total cost of ownership because of its low start-up price, low recurring subscription fees, and low ongoing maintenance costs. Depending on the number of users, the first year cost for any given NetSpective product can be less than half that of competing products; costs for additional years of maintenance and technology updating services are usually 75% lower than competing products.

If I only buy P2PFilter or WebFilter now, can I upgrade later?

Yes. Both the WebFilter and P2PFilter products are key-upgradeable to an integrated solution, with no additional hardware required.

NetSpective vs. Competition

How is NetSpective different from competitors' products?

NetSpective offers a more comprehensive solution, more complete filtering and categorization capabilities, the ability to flexibly configure the solution with the functionality you need, when you need it, and offers a low total cost of ownership.

How does NetSpective's URL database compare to competing filter vendors?

NetSpective's database provides superior coverage because with Adaptive Filtering, it automatically grows in response to real-world use and isn't limited to a certain subset of web sites. Out of the box, NetSpective solutions include millions of pre-categorized sites in 60+ categories.

What are the advantages of NetSpective's single-point filtering approach?

NetSpective provides a single point of control that simplifies placement, reduces cost and eliminates the need to coordinate multiple network sensors and filtering servers. Many competitive solutions require the use of 3 or more filtering machines in even moderate-volume applications. The resulting octopus of sensors, firewall interfaces and filtering servers significantly increases complexity, maintenance requirements and total cost of ownership.

What are the advantages of NetSpective's Signature-Based Detection for Skype, P2P, IM, and streaming media traffic?

NetSpective's unique technology filters Skype, P2P, IM, and streaming media traffic many other products miss. Most other P2P/IM and streaming media filters block a smaller number of traffic types or only filter the port numbers commonly used by this traffic. Unfortunately, the clients for these networks often detect the blocked port and reassign themselves to an unfiltered port. In contrast, P2PFilter is capable of controlling a wide range of problem traffic on any port. It also provides superior reporting for monitoring allowed usage.