WatchGuard Technologies has announced the newest version of its Fireware Operating System, designed to better control the amount of data employees have access to, including when and for how long.
Given that up to 80 percent of employees’ time on the Internet each day has nothing to do with work, according to the Kansas State University Computers in Human Behaviour report, it’s estimated that organisations lose as much as US$4,500 per employee every year due to ‘cyberloafing’ or ‘time crime.’
“Most companies realise that employees perform better with a breather and limited non-work-related activity, but the key is to find a balance between the two,” says Brendan Patterson, director of product management, WatchGuard.
“Our newest version of Fireware OS, 11.10, makes it easy for IT pros to find the right mix by setting time and data quotas to ensure employees are happy without compromising productivity.”
Fireware’s new quota capabilities also extend to WatchGuard’s guest access features allowing hospitality and retail organisations to set parameters for guest access – ensuring no one guest can negatively affect the performance of the network for others.
In addition to the time and data quota features, the new software also allows network administrators to set policies for websites using names not numbers, including a “wildcard” ability to conveniently cover multiple domains with one policy.
“Using names not numbers is not only easier and more intuitive for IT pros to set policies, our wildcard functionality means they can catch all IP addresses within a given domain without having to set policies for each one,” Patterson adds.
“A good example would be icanhas.cheezburger.com, memebase.cheezburger.com, failblog.cheezburger.com, it goes on and on.
“Having that wildcard ability to collectively capture all those sites gives the IT pro tons of efficiency in putting policies against particular groups of websites.”
Patterson says that Fireware’s names not numbers functionality also takes considerably less processing power than competing solutions because WatchGuard does not do a reverse look up during each transaction to update IP addresses.
“While our solution has the processing horsepower, it’s not necessary to waste it on this function,” he adds. “WatchGuard’s approach is a much more efficient use of resources.”