School network administrators are at a tough crossroads when it comes to content filtering. Teachers and students want unlimited access to web-based resources, but their systems mustn’t be compromised.
Now, more than ever, fully customizable network security solutions are required — and the Barracuda Web Filter 410 delivers, offering a full suite of reporting tools that can tell IT staff who’s gone where and done what. The appliance also integrates with browsers’ safe-search functions, which guarantee that any questionable thumbnail images that might appear in students’ search results don’t violate established usage policies.
Custom policies can be set up based on particular users or groups and are defined within the appliance or imported from any Lightweight Directory Access Protocol–compatible directory service. PCs also can be segmented by IP address blocks, with certain policies applying exclusively to these blocks.
Simplifying Web Filters
Barracuda has worked hard to simplify setup via a web interface that’s easily accessible from the local area network connector on the front panel. But the stated setup time of 15 minutes is unrealistic. It took me about 30 minutes to get the appliance fully integrated into the network, and I’m an IT professional with a fairly simple test network. The Barracuda Tech Library at techlib.barracuda.com/BWFInstallation provides excellent instructions for completing most administrative tasks, however.
Although the extra layer of protection at the gateway is nice, it shouldn’t be considered a replacement for desktop anti-virus programs. The user interface is fairly intuitive, with clear navigation menus and structure, but it seemed to drag at times. It’s also important to note that advanced policy configurations may require the purchase of an advanced model.
Barracuda Web Filter 410 Specifications
Dimensions: 16.8x1.7x14 inches
Weight: 12 pounds
Thoughtput: 50 to 100Mbps
Web Cache Size: 50GB
Concurrent Users: 300 to 800
Active Transmission Control Protocol Connections: 2,000 to 5,000