GFI WebMonitor Unified Protection Edition review

Price when reviewed

Most SMB security appliances offer built-in web security, making them ideal for companies that want everything in one box. For those that don’t, GFI’s WebMonitor offers an alternative that provides web filtering, virus, malware and phishing protection plus IM controls.

GFI WebMonitor Unified Protection Edition review

The WebFilter Edition provides URL category filtering, while the WebSecurity Edition offers antivirus scanning courtesy of BitDefender, Kaspersky and Norman. The Unified Protection Edition brings them all together.

There’s also a WebMonitor plugin for Microsoft’s ISA Server and its successor, Forefront TMG 2010. It’s worth using this with ISA Server since it doesn’t have any web filtering itself. Adding Microsoft’s Web Protection Service subscription to TMG brings in full web security.

The WebMonitor standalone version can run in gateway or simple proxy mode. The latter needs one network port on its host system, but you must configure your internet router to block HTTP traffic coming from the LAN.

We tested WebMonitor on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 hosts, and both worked without any issues. It’s important to ensure both network ports are active as the installation wizard offers choices only based on what it finds.

WebMonitor’s interface provides easy access to all features and a summary of traffic, blocked sites and viral activity. Basic proxy authentication requires users to authenticate with the host before being granted internet access, but the integrated option supports Active Directory using a Group Policy Object.

GFI WebMonitor Unified Protection Edition

URL category database and virus signature updates start automatically, and run at regular intervals. A light version of the category database is loaded first to give you basic filtering capabilities while the main database is pulled down. Policies define web access and can be applied to users, groups and IP addresses. GFI’s WebGrade offers a choice of 76 URL categories that can be blocked or allowed.

We blocked the games and gambling categories and were unable to access any online bingo, poker or games sites. The social networking category also worked well with access to MySpace, Facebook and Twitter blocked.

Virus-scanning policies let you select file types and the engines you want to scan them with. IM controls are basic, but you can enforce proxy authentication for apps such as Windows Live Messenger.

Policies can be used to restrict certain file types from being downloaded, or they can be quarantined for approval. As users download files, they’re shown a web page displaying the scanning process; only when deemed to be safe will they be allowed to save the file locally.

WebMonitor provides a web security package that allows a wide range of AUPs to be enforced. It would be a good alternative to appliance-based security services if it weren’t for the price. Compared to the A-Listed Cyberoam CR15wi security appliance, it’s just too expensive.


Software subcategory Internet security

Operating system support

Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Other operating system support Windows Server 2003 upwards (32/64-bit versions)

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