CyBlock Web Security Solution is now available in the Cloud

Monday, December 9th, 2013

 Melbourne, FL, Dec. 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Wavecrest Computing, the makers of CyBlock, have just announced the availability of a Cloud version of CyBlock. Now companies have access to the most popular and solid Web Security solution in the Cloud.

CyBlock Cloud Web Security is an easy-to-implement solution that benefits organizations of all sizes and quickly safeguards your network. Whether you have branch offices, remote users, or just one location, CyBlock Cloud protects your company and its employees allowing you to take advantage of time and money savings. Enforce your company’s AUP by defining one or more Web-use policies to successfully address Internet abuse, legal liability, workforce productivity, and Web security threats.

“We are very excited to be extending our product line into the Cloud market. Now, new and existing customers who are considering a cloud solution have one less worry. Starting today they can access an industry tested and proven solution with a successful 13 year track record. CyBlock Cloud is a perfect addition to Wavecrest’s line of industry leading Web Security Solutions.” CEO – Dennis McCabe

Wavecrest Computing has been the recognized leader in Web-access security and Web-usage forensics solutions for the last 16 years. Our scalable filtering and forensic reporting analysis products are designed to enable organizations to successfully address Internet abuse, legal liability, workforce productivity, and Web security threats. Wavecrest Computing’s client list includes well-known corporations such as Edward Jones, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Blue Cross Blue Shield, MillerCoors, Rolex, Siemens, and others.

Link to Press Release.

March Madness

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Wavecrest Computing has heard about it every year for 15 years–companies complaining that their bandwidth is slow and their overall productivity is down, all during March and early April! What is going on? Madness, they say…March Madness!

The bandwidth strain can be a big problem. According to a recent survey, 66 percent of workers say they’ll follow the games during work hours, with 20 percent expecting to spend one to two hours following games, 14 percent spending three to four hours, and 16 percent saying they will spend five hours or more watching games instead of working.*

How do you control this type of bandwidth usage? While you may or may not allow your employees to follow the games at work, you will want to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your network. Wavecrest Computing offers Internet filtering by category or site, white list filtering, real-time Web monitoring, and detailed Web-use reports on a particular category or site and bandwidth usage. Some of the many Wavecrest CyBlock features that monitor bandwidth or access to sports sites are:

  • Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor
  • Top Sites Bandwidth Chart
  • Top Groups Bandwidth Chart

For more information on CyBlock and a free trial download, see CyBlock Core Features.

* March Madness – Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. 3/13/2013

What employers need to know about online holiday shopping

Monday, November 19th, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is coming, and it’s time to find the best deals and research the best products. And where does everyone go these days to find the deals and do their product research?  You guessed it. The Internet.  Should employers be concerned with this? Absolutely!  Online shopping results in significant productivity losses, excessive bandwidth usage and serious threats to cybersecurity.

Lost productivity can mean big bucks for your company. A recent study by Comscore found that 50% of all online holiday purchases occur during working hours. For the companies in the study, the typical productivity loss during the short holiday season averages $15,000.

Adding insult to injury, the additional traffic will lead to network slowdowns due to significant increases in bandwidth usage. Just as they did in previous years, online retailers are now preparing bandwidth-hogging promotional videos to help sell their products. Remember last year?  On Cyber Monday 2011, video views increased by 897 percent over the previous year. And now the number of views this coming Cyber Monday are expected to exceed last year’s. So, it is critical to prevent vital bandwidth from being consumed by non-productive Web-use.

Contributing to the danger, hackers and identity thieves are very aware of these online shopping patterns. They are fully prepared to deceive online holiday shoppers with very appealing schemes – “deals” that require them to click a link to special discount or filling in personal information before they can get the deal. These acts can lead to malware infection or pose significant risks to your organization’s network and sensitive data.

The peak period for all these holiday-related problems is coming soon. The Comscore study tells us that 80% of all annual online purchases occur between Nov 26th (CyBer Monday) and Dec 14th.  So now is a good time to remind your employees of your organization’s Web-use policy and make sure you have the right protections in place.

Dennis McCabe, President of Wavecrest Computing, recommends that companies monitor and/or filter employee Web-use to better protect themselves from lost productivity, excessive bandwidth usage and security threats. His company is ready to help them do this.  Easy to use and priced to fit any budget, Wavecrest products are tailored to address all aspects of Web-use management reliably and cost-effectively.

About Wavecrest

Since 1996, Wavecrest Computing has developed, marketed, and supported a spectrum of innovative Internet usage monitoring, analysis, filtering, and reporting solutions. Their products help all types of organizations manage employees’ online activities, ensure compliance with acceptable use policies, preclude legal liability and prevent bandwidth abuse. Founded 15 years ago, their client base has grown to more than 3,000 organizations, including many prominent Fortune 500 companies and high-profile government agencies.

Coaching Now Available for CyBlock

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

 

Since 1996, Wavecrest has been creating solutions that help customers implement and enforce their Internet Usage policies. As the Internet landscape changes, some websites that were once categorized as unproductive are not so clear these days, causing current Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) to impede necessary productivity as organizations struggle to keep up with the ever-changing Internet. As part of Wavecrest’s mission to constantly improve, the coaching feature has recently been added to CyBlock Proxy v6.7 and CyBlock ISA / TMG v6.7 to alleviate this growing concern.

Standard CyBlock Proxy Blocking Message

Customize this Message to Reflect Company AUP

Customize this Message to Reflect Company AUP

This optional-use, customer-configurable, policy support feature allows authenticated / authorized users to override CyBlock’s blocking function while allowing them to proceed to the site they have requested. Coaching can be enabled on categories that have been set to “block”, and policies are customizable based on time of day, user name or group. The coaching feature provides customers with more flexibility and control while continuing to support their company policies through custom block messages.

For more information using CyBlock’s coaching function and creating your own custom blocking message, check out our easy-to-follow instructions on our latest Tech Tip: Create a Custom Blocking Message While Coaching.

Managing Bandwidth to Cut Unnecessary Costs

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

save bandwidth, save money

Inappropriate Web use resulting in excessive bandwidth consumption is often the primary culprit behind network issues. Typically, the worst offenders are social networking, video and music streaming, gaming sites, and browser-based file sharing. These are all widely accepted applications for use on corporate networks but the majority of them are often operating unchecked, opening your entire network up to bandwidth hogs, productivity-draining activity, and security risks.

There are multiple policies you can implement to monitor your bandwidth, so which one is right for your business? Pay attention to patterns: How much of your company’s bandwidth is being consumed by non-productive Web use? Who were the top users of bandwidth on your company’s network? Both questions seem easy enough to answer, but this data is oftentimes scattered around your network, especially if you have multiple data centers. Without easy access to these insights, many companies are simply unaware of possible lost revenue due to bandwidth congestion. Fortunately, Wavecrest Computing’s CyBlock Proxy solution now offers bandwidth management in addition to the Web filtering and reporting tools favored by many.

From within our solution, you can easily create multiple ‘category-control’ or ‘group-control’ policies that can be activated when usage reaches specified thresholds of consumption. Typically, customers set these thresholds at points that reflect how closely they want actual consumption to approach total available bandwidth before imposing restrictions. Once a policy is activated, policy-specified traffic is throttled one or more degrees of restriction on lower priority Web applications, allowing business-critical applications (VoIP, CRM, etc) to continue operating as needed.

While most other solutions base their throttling process on overall traffic volume rather than on the contents of the Internet packets, CyBlock Proxy breaks the traffic down into content categories and bases its controls on those categories rather than just volume. Alternatively, throttling can be imposed on selected users or groups, regardless of the content they’re seeking. The general concept is to synergistically combine your organization’s particular Internet and bandwidth usage policies with CyBlock Proxy’s customizable bandwidth throttling technology. Before you consider paying for more bandwidth, first leverage CyBlock Proxy’s built-in bandwidth management functionality (at no additional cost) by throttling the top non-critical bandwidth users. This feature has already provided businesses with the insight needed to most efficiently manage and utilize their Web traffic.

Monitoring Internet Usage … From the IT Department

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

During July, August, and September of 2011, Commtouch assessed categories of Web sites most likely to be home to malware, below are the top ranking offenders.  The Portals category includes those sites offering free hosting which are often abused to publish malware and phishing content or will redirect to sites with this content.

What were the most-visited categories by your employees during 2011?

Are you currently monitoring and/or blocking the existing Spyware/Malicious, Phishing/Fraud, Public Proxy, and Hacking categories to help protect your network?

Source: Commtouch

In today’s wired workplace, internet security and bandwidth consumption are top concerns for IT professionals while employee productivity and legal liability ail management and HR professionals.  As a major contributor to the Web-use management effort, IT typically becomes deeply involved in planning, testing, selecting, installing, and administering Internet monitoring software.  With the different departments playing a role in deciding on the best product to fit their vast needs, most are left without a solution.  Fortunately, Wavecrest’s products have been reviewed by our customers as meeting each role’s needs most effectively, offering manager-ready, easy-to-interpret reports that can be accessed without the IT personnel in addition to providing a robust, truly scalable IT-friendly remedy.

With Wavecrest Computing, customers have the insight needed to proactively monitor / block the notorious malicious sites based on custom categories, the Wavecrest Control List, and a real-time deep packet analysis process.  Plus, our 19 comprehensive templates provide a variety of summarized and detailed Web-use activity reports on users, groups, categories, sites, acceptability ratings, and bandwidth consumption.  Conveniently import your current Web Use Policy to easily customize or classify categories, implement abuse thresholding, and monitor employee productivity while our Administrator and Operator Accounts allow for non-IT personnel to create and obtain their role-specific reports.

While serving a diverse mixture of commercial businesses, industrial firms, government agencies, military units, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations since 1996, our products continue to present the most up-to-date, proactive coverage in line with the one factor that underlies all Web-use management issues, human online activity. Wavecrest’s managers and developers understand human resource management well and we use that knowledge to develop features that prevent productivity losses, legal liability problems, network issues, and unnecessary costs.

What’s Hogging Your Company’s Bandwidth? Causes for Slow Network Speed this Holiday.

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you haven’t noticed, online holiday shopping lasts well beyond Cyber Monday.  According to a ComScore report, after the 2010 holiday shopping season, more than 85% of Americans online visited a retail site in December of last year.  Employees shopping online at work are likely causing critical applications, like Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing, to perform poorly if at all.  The last thing you and your company need is network latency or slowdowns due to non-work related online activity.  Many of our clients are seeing a spike in bandwidth usage from shopping websites and have quickly taken measures to filter browsing to that category.  Which sites consumed the most bandwidth for your company this month?  Determine what factors are impacting your network speed before you decide to purchase more bandwidth – an expense that could be avoided with the right tools and a bit of discipline.

With 19 different types of highly customizable employee Web-use reports, Cyfin Reporter offer insights as to which types of traffic consume the maximum volume throughout the workday.  Monitor, filter, and report over 500 million Web pages in 74 categories and set throttling thresholds for sites that are slowing your company’s Internet speed with CyBlock Proxy.  Now is the time to address your poor network performance, slow applications, and bandwidth congestion.

We’re so sure you’ll benefit from our solutions that we offer a free 30-day product trial. Both products provide quantified data to help IT personnel keep track of bandwidth utilization by users as well as by type of usage (appropriate versus not so appropriate). After you’ve downloaded our products, take advantage of the User Comparison Trend Chart to detect unexpected spikes that could indicate excessive bandwidth or Web use.  Then review your Top Sites Bandwidth Chart (example seen below) and find out which ten sites are consuming the most bandwidth or had the most hits or visits for the time period you specify.

Top Sites Bandwidth Chart

 

Top Sites Bandwidth Chart for both Cyfin and CyBlock

Online Holiday Shopping Can Cost Your Business More Than Time

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Online Shopping Risks

Cyber Monday is no more – in an uncertain economy, post-Thanksgiving online holiday shopping has increased since coined in 2005 and now lasts for one month with more than 50% of all online spending taking place during working hours1.  What does this mean for your business?  A large decrease in employee productivity, a boost in bandwidth consumption, and one of the most popular times for cybercriminals to attack your secure data.

Lost productivity can mean big bucks for your company, reducing employee output to a mere 60%2.  A survey by CareerBuilder states that more than half of the 4,000 respondents polled intend on shopping online while at work with one third of those planning for more than one hour each day, in addition to the two typical hours daily already reported by respondents (time excludes lunch hour and scheduled breaks).  If you do not have a Web-use policy or Internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in place, one is necessary to help report, monitor, and prevent employee Internet abuse in addition to protecting your company from legal liability.

Downloading malware is another risk as employees use the Internet for personal reasons. Spyware and malicious code are big threats to company networks as they can consume bandwidth and compromise security.  Recent studies show that company networks are being infected with spyware and malicious code most often through employees surfing the Web; with the holidays increasing that risk, these threats make it imperative for companies to enforce an AUP to protect their networks. Wavecrest Computing suggests that companies monitor and/or filter employee Web use in order to better protect themselves from security threats. In addition to the inherent risks associated with hacking your online security – loss of company reputation, destruction of company data, and the downtime employees face while systems are restored – the costs to mitigate attacks are extraordinary and rising each year.  This year, U.S. companies are expected to spend more than triple the costs spent in 20063.

To ensure these threats do not happen to your company this holiday season, run through our checklist and remember to check it twice!

  • Install all applicable system and program updates to avoid malware from infiltrating any system frailty that could have easily been patched with an update.
  • Create a Web usage policy and clearly communicate it to your employees.
  • Be cautious prior to clicking on links to different websites particularly those found on social networking sites as they’re often a hotspot for malware.
  • Avoid the use of pirated / illegal software as many contain malware.
  • Never open email attachments from unknown senders and make sure to scan attachments you do decide to download.
  • Make steps to consistently back up your computer in the case that malware wipes your hard drive clean.
  • Monitor servers and security devices 24x7x365 for security issues and require preventative actions be taken on security threats in real time – this is where we come in!

CyBlock can be set up to block Web access by categories and by hour so employees can access shopping sites on their lunch break or after hours. This approach can help sustain morale while minimizing the risks associated with online shopping.  With Cyfin, you can monitor employees’ Web use to ensure that Web-use policies are followed or that unwanted spyware or malware is not downloaded as a result.  Let us guide you to a safer, more reliable, robust security solution with exceptional support at an unbeatable price!

Sources:

1https://blog.comscore.com/2011/11/cyber_monday_work_computers.html

2 https://www.wavecrest.net/editorial/costsavings.html

3https://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/technology/1107/gallery.cyber_security_costs/index.html?iid=EL

 

The World Cup Means Time Wasted at Work

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The 2010 FIFA World Cup games begin today and will run until July 11.  Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a research firm that deals with lost workplace productivity, ranks the World Cup as one of the biggest time wasters in the workplace worldwide.  And it’s not just time that World Cup viewers will suck up in the workplace.  Bandwidth consumption will also increase with the availability of video streaming of the games.

While the World Cup ranks number 4 in the US as a top time waster behind March Madness, the Super Bowl and Fantasy Football, it will still cost American companies about $121.7 million in lost productivity.  The British economy, however, is looking to lose about $7.36 billion in productivity, according to the British law firm Brabners Chaffe Street.

Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products and services help all types of organizations manage and control employee Web activity. Cyfin and CyBlock products do this by monitoring and/or filtering employees’ Web use and reporting on the activity by content categories, e.g., sports, social networking, games, and others. Of particular note, with regard to the World Cup, CyBlock products can be set up to block Web access by categories and by hour so employees can access sports sites on their lunch break or after hours. This approach can help sustain morale while minimizing lost productivity and bandwidth associated with the World Cup.

Sources:
https://blogs.reuters.com/shop-talk/2010/06/08/world-cup-is-no-march-madness-in-sapping-productivity/
https://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/blog/2010/06/world_cup_promises_some_kick_to_productivity_apps_aim_to_help.html
https://www.usnews.com/usnews/biztech/articles/060608/8worldcup.htm

Wavecrest’s RealTimePlus Filtering

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

RealTimePlus is our customer-configurable three-layer filtering process. It uses three layers of screening based on: (1) custom categories, (2) the Wavecrest categorization (control) list and (3) a real-time deep packet analysis process.

1. Custom Categories (the “First Layer”). ‘Custom categories’ supplement the standard categories. This enables you to better identify and control your users’ Web activity.   For example, you can create a custom category to:

  • Serve as a “white list” that contains all sites to which visits are allowed (while blocking all others).
  • Track and possibly block access to ‘standard’ sites that are not in the Wavecrest URL List but are of special local interest or concern.
  • Serve as a “black list” that contains all sites to be blocked (while allowing access to all others).
  • Track (but not block) visits to internal servers (intranet sites) and/or partner sites.

You can add custom categories at the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Custom Categories screen. Then use the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Edit URLs screen to add sites into your custom categories.

2. The Wavecrest URL List (the “Second Layer”). To accurately identify and categorize the vast majority of visits, Wavecrest products use a large, mature categorization control list.  This ‘control’ list consists of 69 ‘standard’ content-identification categories that is updated daily with URLs from around the world.  We recommend that you download the list daily to get the best filtering and monitoring coverage.   You can setup an automatic daily download of the list at the Administration – URL List – Schedule screen.

Another great customization feature with the control list is that you can add and move URLs in the standard categories.  For example, if you use Twitter as a Marketing tool but want to continue to block all other social networking sites, you can simply add www.twitter.com to the Marketing category.  You can make this change at the Advanced Settings – Category Setup – Edit URLs screen.

Finally, set your block/allow policies for your custom categories and standard categories at the Advanced Settings – Filtering Settings – Block Web Categories screen.

3. Deep Packet Analysis (the “Third Layer”). Using real-time ‘deep packet analysis,’ CyBlock can determine if the content of a URL is Flash, video streaming, audio streaming, images, Active X and more.  Any or all of these could be considered “inappropriate” and can be blocked.  You can also add your own extensions to be blocked.  You can block these types of content or add your own at the Advanced Settings – Filter Settings – Block Web Content screen.

Other Features

1. Hourly Blocking. You can block or allow categories at specific hours during the day.  For example, you may want to allow access to some categories during the lunch hour. You can set these hourly policies by clicking on the clock icon at the Block Web Categories screen.

2. Customizable Blocking Message. CyBlock comes with a standard blocking message, but you can configure the product to point to your own Web policy or personalized blocking message.  You can set this custom message at the Advanced Settings – Filter Settings – Web Blocking Message screen.