More businesses are turning to the Web to increase productivity, partnerships and even revenue. And as they do, Web proxies - which offer protection, caching, acceleration, compression and authentication - become an appealing tool to make the most of an enterprise Web presence.But with the benefits come challenges, according to a June 18 Meta Group report, "Selecting a Web Proxy."To start, Peter Firstbrook, a senior research analyst at Meta, explains why the Web proxy represents both a solution and a problem to IT managers."The Web proxy or cache is the central choke point for organizations in managing outgoing Web traffic and applying policy," Firstbrook writes. "While the Web is now an indispensable business tool, it also represents a significant liability for the organization."According to Firstbrook, the trend with browser-based Web traffic is centering on enterprise companies putting a Web gateway in place, which will require Web proxy\/cache technology. Vendors offering Web proxies include heavyweights such as Microsoft and Cisco, as well as Blue Coat and Network Appliance.But any Web proxy\/cache technology investment, regardless of vendor, needs to address specific areas, according to Meta. Among the technology features needed in Web proxy products are policy control; URL filtering and content management; anti-virus capabilities; and protocol support.With no clear technology leader, Firstbrook says customers will most likely choose products based on their vendor affiliation.In the next newsletter, I will reveal how Firstbrook and Meta find these vendors stacking up based on their performance, the product packaging and the technology criteria necessary for a successful Web proxy implementation.