Wow, time flies when you’re busy billing. As we enter 2013 it’s easy to see how neglectful we’ve been of this blog. 2012 was our busiest year yet, and we thank all our wonderful clients for all the great opportunities to help them solve their technical challenges.
One challenge that repeatedly comes up is in regards to permitted web browsing. A few of our clients work under a much larger entity that controls web access through proxy appliances, namely devices by Blue Coat. This isn’t to point them out specifically, as what I’m about to describe seems de rigeur across the web filtering industry niche.
These specific customers are troubled often when trying to research a technical issue. Perhaps they, like many of us, do a google search of the problem. They see in the results something germane to their issue. When they click on the link however, the proxy appliance that is maintained by the controlling organization’s IT team blocks access to the page, because that organization decided they wanted to block anything in the “Blogs/Personal Pages” category. (Click here to see the definitions for these categories used by Blue Coat)
So while researching the issue I noticed that Blue Coat’s own security blog was not classified as a “Blogs/Personal Pages” and pointed this out to them. They agreed that it should be put in this category according to their current definitions. Blue Coat helpfully pointed out that an IT Department could craft rules that would, for example, allow websites marked as “Blogs/Personal Pages” only if they were also categorized as “Computers/Internet.” While useful, the cold hard fact is that often IT teams don’t do this: it’s simply more effort on already overworked IT groups, and such groups are apt to want to keep things as simple as possible.