Leading European SaaS vendor with spam and content filtering services (“Web Filtering Provider”)
Web Filtering & Parental Controls
On-disk integration on Linux-based server running in Web Filtering Provider’s Data Center
“We have a large and growing spam filtering customer base and wanted to add web filtering to meet our customer’s needs. Importantly, we wanted to find a URL database and content categorization partner that had a deployment option that allows us to be the “cloud” for our customers and operate the service from our data center.” –Managing Director, Web Filtering Provider
The Web Filtering Provider was experiencing increased demand for a reliable, cost-effective and hosted web filtering offering to complement its existing hosted spam filtering service. With customers geographically distributed across Europe, there was a need for strong URL database coverage and accuracy across the spectrum of European languages.
The Web Filtering Provider realized that to maximize market share, it had a range of requirements and criteria to satisfy, including:
- SaaS hosting support – the ability to deploy a URL database in the Solution Provider’s existing Data Center infrastructure was necessary to meet cost and price targets.
- Language Support – with customers throughout Europe, having support for all of the major European languages was critical – the Solution Provider needed a URL database provider that had proven and verifiable accuracy and coverage for the languages represented across its markets.
- Malicious Website Detection – the Solution Provider was focused on positioning the Web Filtering offering as not just content filtering, but on the threats posed by the compromised and malicious websites, particularly social networking and blogging sites – and needed a URL database provider who not only could perform content categorization but also real-time malicious website detection.
- Performance – with a large and growing customer base, the Solution Provider required a SDK implementation that could scale to millions of users with extremely fast query performance.
“We’ve seen rapid market growth for our existing SaaS services and believed we could experience similar market adoption and growth with a premium web filtering offering that emphasized malicious website detection and security. We needed a partner that had a URL database with excellent accuracy and coverage in our key European markets, with superior malicious website detection, with the ability to deploy the URL database within our data center, to deliver on our vision.” – CTO, Web Filtering Provider
The Web Filtering Provider identified and evaluated several URL database vendors, using the following criteria:
- Accuracy – an evaluation of the URL databases for categorization accuracy across German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Czech, Danish, Italian, Portuguese and several more leading European languages. In each language, several hundred URLs were identified and the categories manually verified for accuracy (view the zvelo Language Support Map).
- Coverage – an evaluation of the coverage of the top 10 European languages was performed, using the Alexa lists for each of these languages/countries.
- Malicious Website Detection – an evaluation of the vendors’ coverage and detection abilities of malicious websites was performed, using a mix of internal/external sources for websites identified as hosting spyware, malware or other threats, as well as an extensive testing of anonymizer sites. The evaluation included an analysis of detecting sites that were clean that had been compromised, as well as sites that had been malicious that had been “cleaned” and the timeframes to recognize/categorize as appropriate.
- Deployment in the data center – the URL database would need to be deployed in the Solution Provider’s data center.
- Performance – an evaluation of the maximum throughput per thread/server to determine if the performance of the SDK could scale with projected user growth.
The objective of the evaluation was to identify the vendor that best addressed the evaluation criteria.
“It became quickly apparent during the evaluation that zvelo was outperforming the competition – from a technical perspective as well as business responsiveness and deployment flexibility. It was an easy and clear decision to move forward with zvelo.” -CTO, Web Filtering Provider
Following the evaluation, the Web Filtering Provider completed integration of the zveloDB® SDK and deployed the SaaS web filtering offering in their Data Center.
Web Filtering Provider in Action
The Web Filtering Provider introduced its SaaS service as a premium offering to its hosted spam filtering customer base and has seen a steady adoption rate across its customer base in all of its European markets.
Upon subscription to the Web Filtering offering, acceptable use policies are established, the user’s web traffic is provided to the Provider’s Data Center and the user is able to begin surfing immediately.
With this process, the Web Filtering Provider’s users have complete coverage for their web surfing and they can be provided zero-hour protection against malicious websites and other web threats. Further, the zveloDB’s performance can accommodate the anticipated growth as the Provider’s adoption rate and URL query volume increases.
Ease of Integration
A key consideration and evaluation criteria for the Web Filtering Provider was ease of integration. With the zveloDB SDK, the integration is simple and straightforward. zvelo offers a range of options for the zveloDB SDK, including multiple versions of Linux, UNIX and Windows, as well as 32/64 bit options, and was able to quickly deliver the specific Linux Fedora version required by the Solution Provider. The zveloDB SDK requires just a few API calls to be developed and have the zveloDB fully functional.
“Not only was the integration very straightforward, zvelo has a unique capability called “Category Mapping”, which really reduced our time to market. We were able to create unique category maps which fit exactly to the web filtering policies for each of our vertical markets – such as SMB, Education, Enterprise and Consumer Parental Controls.” -CTO, Web Filtering Provider
Benefits of zveloDB
The zveloDB’s 99.99% coverage of the ActiveWeb* sites visited by users, combined with the real-time AutoCategorization for new websites by the zveloNET® cloud, provided excellent website coverage for the Provider’s users and the category mapping made for seamless policy management for the user’s web surfing, while the zvelo malicious website detection capabilities provided zero-hour protection against compromised, infected, phishing and other web threats. The zveloDB SDK was tailored for easy integration with the Linux Fedora operating environment, as well as an API to automate end-user submissions of any miscategorized URLs (miscats) for immediate research and response by zvelo’s quality assurance team of Web Analysts.
The Web Filtering Provider had a successful launch and strong adoption of its SaaS Web Filtering offering amongst its customer base. Importantly, with the accuracy, coverage, language support and positioning of the Web Filtering offering as a security offering, the Provider was able to command a premium price over standard web filtering-only offerings.
“zvelo has been just the type of technology partner we had hoped to find. Their technology is excellent and they are extremely flexible and responsive to our business needs.” –Managing Director, Web Filtering Provider
*ActiveWeb – those websites visited by actual users.