In this age of viruses and sexual harassment lawsuits, content-filtering software plays a crucial protective role. But just try to get it to work with your firewall or gateway.
Getting it to do so could soon become much easier. A proposed set of APIs would let virus checkers and Web-filtering software run on any gateway or firewall supporting the Common Content Inspection API (CCIA).
Firewall vendor Check Point Software Technologies, which has pushed the idea of common APIs for some time in its Open Platform Secure Enterprise Computing program, has joined the CCIA cause. Now other firewall vendors, including Cisco and Network Associates, say they are intrigued by the idea.
The API set may also provide an industry-standard way to hand off incoming IP traffic to a separate processing host to handle filtering and inspection. This frees the firewall from having to do all the labor itself, which can slow operations.
"The idea is that the traffic-cop products, such as firewalls, can hand off data they intercept in a standard way," explains Martin Hall, chief technology officer at California-based Stardust Forums, which hatched the CCIA idea last month with Java-filtering software provider Finjan Software.