For the vast majority of companies, the chief reason for using Internet content filtering software is to enhance cybersecurity defenses. Internet content filtering software can be used to block access to websites that have been compromised with malware, and stop ransomware, spyware, and adware from being inadvertently downloaded.
hackers are creating highly sophisticated malware capable of stealing sensitive data, locking files with encryption, and causing a considerable amount of damage. For small companies, the cost of resolving a malware infection could prove catastrophic.
For companies in regulated sectors such as education, finance, and healthcare, Internet filtering software can help achieve regulatory compliance. The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) – for example – requires content filtering solutions to be used to block obscene images and other potentially harmful content in schools and libraries, while Internet filtering software can help with HIPAA compliance for the healthcare sector.
Personal use of the Internet – specifically the use of social media, gambling, gaming, and eCommerce websites – can be a major drain on productivity for industry. Blocking access to these websites entirely or at certain times of the day can help groups to improve the productivity of their workforce. Blocking access to pornography and other inappropriate website content can also prevent HR and legal issues from coming up.
The use of Internet radio, P2P file sharing sites, video streaming software, and many web applications takes up precious bandwidth. Internet filtering software can be used to block these services to help with bandwidth management. With all of these advantages, it is no surprise that so many companies are choosing to filter the Internet.
|Control User Access to Inappropriate Internet material|
|At Work||At School||In Public|
|Online Shopping||Hate Speech||Child Abuse|
|Job Search Sites||Video Streaming||Violence|
|Travel Websites||Illegal Drugs||Discrimination|
Typically, Internet filtering software includes blacklists provided by the software vendor. Blacklists typically contain lists of websites known to harbor malware and ransomware and, whenever a network user visits a link or types in a URL, the request to view the website is checked against the blacklist. Other varieties of blacklist are also available – such as blacklists of pornographic sites – and these can easily be installed with the software. Other features to look out for include:
Internet filtering solutions that permit category-based website filtering are the quickest to configure, while keyword filtering provides the greatest control over Internet content. Category-based filtering blocks access to websites by genre – including pornography, gambling, and gaming. Keyword filtering checks for the presence of banned keywords on a specific page. For most groups, category-based filtering should be sufficient.
Security from phishing websites is an important feature of any web filtering solution. Phishing is one of the main vectors used by cyberattackers to obtain access to networks and email accounts. Blocking access to known phishing websites by using internet filtering software with SURBL filters reduces the reliance on employees’ ability to spot phishing emails.
Permitting employees some time each day for personal Internet use can be beneficial for morale. The option of applying time-based Internet content controls can see to it that Internet access is not abused. Staff can also use time-based controls to restrict Internet use to save bandwidth during normal office hours.
Many companies have wired and wireless networks. Using a web filtering solution to control content accessed via Wi-Fi hotspots will make sure that users´ personal devices cannot be used to bypass content controls. The solution can also stop the Hotspot being compromised by malware-infected routers in the vicinity.
The generation of reports on Internet usage can take a massive amount of an administrator’s time. Check to ensure that a software solution includes pre-defined reports and allows reports to be set up. This will save many hours of management time. The ability to configure email alerts will ensure system administrators are notified when individuals attempt to view restricted content.
The daily management of Internet content filtering software should not take up the time of your most highly trained IT staff. Look for a software solution with a centralized, web-based administration portal, low management overhead and non-technical tools. This will save massive time and money in the long run.
White label versions of Internet content filtering software for managed service providers permit logos and color schemes to be used. This permits the software to be simply added to existing service packages. Some Internet content filtering software can be hosted in a private cloud or within an MSPs infrastructure.
If ever you encounter any compatibility issues or have any drawbacks, you will want to get quick answers. Look for an Internet content filtering software provider with an international customer service team that will be contactable to answer questions and resolve issues at all times. This will ensure that problems can be rapidly addressed.
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