Content Filtering Solution

Providing employees with Internet access carries a risk of them visiting malicious websites where malware could be downloaded or sensitive information could be divulged. A content filtering solution is strongly recommended to limit the web pages that employees can visit.

A content filter will stop the staff from loading websites that are used to launch malicious attacks involving malware and ransomware. In addition to this, you can use it to block access to websites that have a negative effect on productivity, such as social media websites and online shopping sites. Content filtering solutions can also be used to reduce bandwidth wastage, such as video streaming or P2P filesharing websites.

Content Filter Considerations:

When considering a solution to filter the Internet to improve your security posture, reduce legal risk, and make productivity gains, there are certain features you should look for to ensure you get the maximum value from your investment:

  • Granularity: The solution that you opt for must be straightforward to configure and refine based on the needs of individual users and company departments. Make sure there are category and keyword-based web content filtering options available in order to accomplish this.
  • Scalability: The content filter must be able to grow as your business to avoid having to purchase a new solution further down the line. Avoid anything with bandwidth limits, set numbers of TCP connections, or alternative tiers of subscription depending on the number of users registered.
  • Usability: Get something that is easy to use, requires little or no training and can be managed by a staff member who does not need to be a guru in information technology.
  • Compatibility: Work with your IT department to double check that everything you are paying for can be used with the hardware and software solutions that are already in place. This will make the installation and management much easier.
  • Configurability: Integration with Active Directory, LDAP, and Novell eDirectory will make it much easier to configure the filter for separate users while implementing AUPs should be straightforward and not time-consuming.

Why you Need a Content Filtering Solution

The most important reason for implementing a web filter is to block malware downloads and users from visiting phishing websites. Listed below are other advantages of implementing a content filtering solution:

  • Enforcement of Acceptable Use Policies: The acceptable use policies (AUPs) of your business, designed to stop the abuse of Internet access rights by employees, can be added to the solution to stop any user from violating those policies.
  • Enhancing Data Security: Content filtering is vital to stop access to content that can provide hackers with a foothold in the network. A content filter can stop your employees from downloading risky file types, such as executable files.
  • Addressing Bandwidth Draining:: It is important to have fast Internet for everyone. During times of heavy usage, page load time can increase, especially if employees engage in bandwidth-heavy activities such as video streaming. Using a filter to limit access to websites such as video streaming platforms, online gaming portals, and filesharing websites will ensure all employees can have reasonable Internet speeds. Content filtering solutions often allow time-based controls to be applied, to conserve bandwidth at certain times of the day.

FAQs

What is the best type of web content filter for businesses?

A cloud-based web content filtering solution is one of the best choices due to the ease of implementation, ease of use, and the scalability of the cloud. Cloud-based content filters are provided as a service and can grow and shrink with your business and the initial outlay is low, compared to appliance-based content filters.

Are there any hidden costs with web content filtering solutions?

While some vendors provide comprehensive web filtering packages with all features included in the price, others offer have different product tiers where basic filtering packages are offered, with the more advanced features costing extra. You should carefully evaluate each solution and perform a product comparison to ensure you get the features you need at the best price.

What is a DNS web filter?

A DNS web filter uses the Domain Name System for blocking access to certain types of content. Filtering takes place when a DNS lookup is performed, rather than downloading content and then performing filtering. DNS-based filtering is quicker and more secure. You just point your DNS to the service provider’s DNS and you can be filtering the Internet almost instantly.

How much does a content filtering solution cost?

Cloud-based content filtering solutions are provided as a service and there is an annual cost per user, which can be as little as $12 per user, per year. Some service providers accept monthly billing which can help you spread the cost over the term of the contract.

How does a content filtering solution improve security?

The filter will prevent users from accessing known malicious websites, such as those used for phishing to malware distribution, either from web browsing, redirects, or clicking links in phishing emails. Web filters can be configured to block downloads of risky file types, such as executable files, and many can assess the content of web pages in real time and apply security controls.