Big Brother moves into the cloud

Outsourcing is booming, and it's not just for prisons, schools and help desks based in foreign countries. Even Big Brother is getting in on the action.

With Zscaler, a new subscription service offered by a company of the same name, organizations can punt their Web filtering chores to ensure that employees aren't visiting prohibited sites or spending too much time viewing YouTube clips during work hours.

Most current traffic-monitoring and filtering solutions require deployment and management of software and, in some cases, hardware at multiple points throughout the enterprise. And the more smart devices an organization adds ' portable computers, smart phones and so forth ' the more points that need to be protected.

Zscaler takes a different approach, offering a software-as-a-service product that scans all Web traffic leaving an organization's firewall and redirecting it to one of Zscaler's data centers, where user policy is enforced. Web pages returning from the Internet are likewise scanned and processed.

In addition to offering standard URL filtering, Zscaler lets organizations manage user access to Web 2.0 applications, such as social networking, blogging, streaming, webmail and instant messaging.

Although Zscaler offers convenience for some organizations ' at prices ranging from $1 to $5 per user ' some federal agencies and departments will likely pause before entrusting their Internet security to a third party

About the Author

Patrick Marshall is a freelance technology writer for GCN.

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