January 12, 2001, 11:13 AM — LAS VEGAS -- Beware: responsible Internet usage is on its way.
U.K. company SurfControl here at Comdex unveiled SuperScout 3.0, real-time Internet filtering software that can monitor Internet usage over a corporate network.
SuperScout enables real-time monitoring and reporting of Internet usage, according to Kelly Haggerty, vice president of product management at SurfControl. "SuperScout is more like a firewall for Internet content," he said.
"We want to promote responsible Net usage, especially in the workplace,"which is where SuperScout fits in, Haggerty added.
SuperScout can gather information and analyze user patterns resulting in intelligent analysis of data gathered. This capability helps in troubleshooting problems affecting Internet or network bandwidth, said Haggerty. "Many schools are using our product to restrict access to (music-sharing Web site) Napster, for example," he added.
SurfControl is compatible with most of the existing Internet protocols. For restricting access to unknown protocols that SuperScout doesn't recognize, the software has "context-sensitive filtering" that can monitor and, if necessary, restrict access to that protocol. "SuperScout can monitor context and filter accordingly. We are the first and only ones to have context-sensitive filtering in our software," he said.
When monitoring site usage, SuperScout can sort Web sites visited by date, time, and category. The "sort by category" feature is especially valuable, said Haggerty.
SurfControl maintains a categorized database of Web sites which it will provide with SuperScout 3. The categories include adult, violence, criminal, Web-based e-mail, lifestyles, and others. The database currently has 1.6 million Web sites indexed and will be continually updated via its content filtering alliances with search-engine companies Yahoo, AltaVista, Google, and others, said Haggerty.
Updates to the database will be free for a while -- the company has yet to finalize a specific time period -- after which customers will have to subscribe, which represents SurfControl's revenue model. "It is similar to subscribing to antivirus updates," said Haggerty.
SuperScout allows rules-based administration of Web site access at user, site and protocol levels, said Haggerty. Data can be captured and stored in Microsoft's SQL Server or Oracle's databases. "An administrator using SuperScout can use a rule to control user patterns that may slow down a network," Haggerty said.