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The WebSentinel Experience

A Trial in Web Server Security

One of the primary reasons we developed WebSentinel is to provide a better experience for the typical Web Master when administering their servers. Looking at many of the CGIs or server plug-ins available on the market today, there seems to be a severe lack of tools offering a Macintosh graphical interface. We are assuming, of course, that you as a Web Master chose the Mac OS as your web serving platform because of its ease-of-use, standard interface, and (hopefully) to escape the world of command-line based configuration.

Introducing WebSentinel: Web Site Security... the Macintosh Way. Let's get serious - The Macintosh experience should provide a substantial ease-of-use factor over other platforms when it comes to useability; even if the software in question is for use on a server. Why should server interfaces differ from regular applications?

The above screen shot is an example of a site utilizing WebSentinel to manage different sets of users and their access to the site by department. For instance, in the above scenario users in the Sales department should have access to the company's intranet Order Management system. Though the sales department is quite small in this particular company, double-clicking on the Sales Group shows us exactly which users have access:

It would be nice to actually keep track of what areas our two sales people are responsible for from an administrators point-of-view, so we'll use the notes field in the user detail:

So we have given sales users access to the Order Management portion of our intranet, but how is this defined? In this example, the order management system is online at <http://intranet.mycompany.com/order_admin.t>. In order to protect this section of our site, a Realm is created. Realms are essentially areas of your site that you wish for WebSentinel to protect, and are defined either as a simple match string (as is the case here), or a more complex GREP expression. The Order Management Realm is defined in the screen shot below where all URLs containing "order_admin" are considered part of Order Management:

The above screen shots as a whole should demonstrate the level of Macintosh user experience we have included in WebSentinel. Nearly all administration is performed utilizing drag-and-drop, so adding a new user to the Sales group is as simple as dragging the user into the Sales window. Of course, all administration can be performed over an AppleTalk network, so you need not perform any actions on your web server directly (working directly on your Mac OS web server isn't advised for optimal performance).

We feel the above method of administering your site should be the preferred methods for all server add-ons. What do you think? We would love to hear you comments and suggestions on this product. In particular, if you agree with our level of user interface implementations, what other web server utility products do you need? All correspondance should be sent to info@purity.com and is greatly appreciated!


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