Spyware is everywhere and it’s costing businesses and organizations a ton of money in lost productivity alone. Traditional methods of combating spyware (such as installing software on your systems) have proven mostly effective. The problem is that mostly effective isn’t really good enough. So what other options are there? Currently, I believe the two most viable options currently are:
- Deploy a device onsite
- Subscribe to a service
Devices like Barricuda Networks Web Defense device
and others work by filtering web traffic through their device which resides at your office between your firewall and your LAN (traditionally). It functions as a filter both for incoming and outgoing traffic and is quote robust from a configuration and reporting standpoint.
- Robust functionality
- Granular reporting
- Large upfront cost
- Annual maintenance costs
- Allows “malicious” traffic to utilize your bandwidth
- Need to maintain hardware
Service-based protection such as McAfee’s Web Protection Service works in a similar fashion to the onsite protection model except that the “filtering” occurs offsite. Basically, your web traffic is routed through your service-provider’s systems. In this model you don’t need to purchase hardware or maintain it – you just redirect your web traffic through their systems.
- Easy to set up
- Very low initial cost
- Stops malicious traffic before it gets to your network
- No hardware maintenance or upgrade costs
- Highly effective
- Recurring monthly cost
- Adequate reporting functionality
With these options, the days of combating spyware with just onsite software are probably coming to an end. Don’t get me wrong, onsite software is still necessary, but in all probability, adding another layer of defense is probably a solid, cost-effective decision at this point.