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Surf's up at work--but not for long

Employees are spending more time browsing forbidden fruit online, and vendors are helping stop it.

Kids aren't the only people to keep away from naughty Internet sites. Employees are spending more and more time browsing forbidden fruit online, and vendors are now providing tools to help companies put a stop to it.

Microsystems Software announced today that it is shipping Cyber Patrol Proxy, an Internet filtering solution for the Microsoft Catapult Proxy server. The announcement follows Wednesday's demonstration from SurfWatch of its SurfWatch ProServer, which also works in conjunction with the proxy server instead of being installed on individual machines.

Both products allow companies to block access to undesirable Web sites and newsgroups. By running on the server instead of the client, the software gives the employer the ability to set up the criteria.

Cyber Patrol Proxy uses the same 12 categories of sites that are blocked by the version designed to keep kids out of inappropriate areas, but with one critical addition: sports sites. That's right, sports fans: no more checking sports scores during business hours. Stock prices, however, is still apparently OK.

Microsystems' product is priced at $495, which includes a three-month subscription for weekly updates to the list of blocked sites. Additional 12-month subscriptions are available for $495 per server. The company plans eventually to extend its support to proxy servers from other vendors.

The SurfWatch ProServer offers filters for violence, drugs, alcohol, and gambling, as well as providing tools to let system administrators create customized profiles of sites they wish to block. ProServer will be available in September for Windows NT and a variety of Unix platforms. The company has not yet announced pricing.

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