Policies provide high levels of control as you can decide what applications to block and what to allow and assign them to different groups of systems. These controls extend not just to IM and P2P but streaming media apps such as Windows Media Player, web browsing, FTP and mail as well. Pick MSN Messenger from the list and you can decide whether to block it wholesale or maybe allow chatting but no video and audio communications or file transferring. With file sharing you just pick a service from the list and block login attempts. For web browsing you get rudimentary URL blocking controls as you can apply up to three keyword lists to a policy and each list can contain multiple entries.
We tested a variety of scenarios and started by blocking MSN Messenger which caused the clients to fail to sign in. We blocked iTunes and although we could play locally accessible music we couldn’t log on to the iTunes music store anymore. Using URL keyword blocking stopped clients accessing listed sites with those words in their URL and we could stop specific groups using email. The M510 also blocked all attempts to log on to FTP sites. No entry was provided for GoToMyPC but we blocked it anyway by creating a custom policy that specified the relevant application server’s IP address. You can also create user defined patterns comprising source and destination ports or send a request to D-Link directly from the appliance for a new pattern file for a specific application.
So far, so good but the M510 really falls down on reporting. As we’ve already mentioned you can see what applications and protocols specific systems are using in real time but general reporting is limited to a system log which doesn’t give any details about blocked activities whilst the report tab just provides a graphic of the real-time monitor for the selected period.
The DFL-M510 offers a very cost-effective method of monitoring and controlling access to IM and P2P apps plus a whole lot more Internet activity. Policy based filters make it highly versatile but the weak reporting does let the side down
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