Blue Coat ProxyOne Appliance review

Blue Coat's new ProxyOne Appliance provides enterprise-level web security for SMBs with limited IT expertise. Blue Coat claims installation is a simple six-step process with minimal ongoing maintenance. We put it to the test to see how well it performs and if it really is easy to use.

On completion, the appliance immediately starts downloading its updates and Kaspersky virus signatures which are preconfigured to run at regular intervals. The ProxyOne starts protecting your network straight away as it's configured to block spyware, malware, phishing attempts and proxy avoidance sites.

The second deployment method is to use the appliance as an explicit proxy where it is placed to one side of the network and behind the firewall. Extra work is required as all clients must be set up to use the appliance as their proxy, but this can be automated using PAC (proxy auto-configuration) scripts or AD Group Policies.

The main web interface lets you choose web filtering categories, configure the appliance, view real time traffic and access reports. Blue Coat's own WebPulse cloud service provides the web filtering and has 74 categories to block or allow. The category filter can also be customised with white lists or black lists for allowing or blocking specific URLs, IP addresses and domains. Both the black and white lists are applied irrespective of the categories you may already have selected.

Web filtering performance is extremely good with the appliance delivering impressive results in our tests. We tried to access over a hundred games and gambling sites and were blocked from them all. The social networking category also dealt effectively with sites such as Facebook and Twitter and the P2P category stopped all BitTorrent traffic.

Dave Mitchell

Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.

Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.