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Benefits of Web Content Filtering

Web-based threats are more prevalent today than we have ever seen before and finding ways to eliminate those threats are on the forefront of organizations everywhere.  Dangers like drive-by malware downloads, such as CryptoLocker, are becoming more sophisticated and targeted as hackers refine their activities in search of greater financial gain.  Well-meaning users accidently browsing to the wrong website can cripple your business with just one mouse click, putting your organization at great risk. In addition, employees who purposely use the internet for personal reasons during company time, at best, reduce productivity and, at worst, open up your business to possible criminal charges.

Acceptable Use Policy

The first step in reducing the impact that malicious or inappropriate internet activity can have on an organization is to create an Acceptable Internet Use policy.  Creating clear internet activity guidelines and training employees on the company’s expectations reduces ambiguity for management and employees while providing a solid foundation for risk reduction. However, enforcing the policy and monitoring employee internet activity can prove challenging – if not impossible without the aid of a Web Content Filtering service.

Web Content Filtering

Web Content Filtering is a comprehensive solution for greater web security and internet management.  It gives businesses a reporting of how employees are using the internet while providing tools to control non- work related browsing.  By eliminating access to unsafe sites, and stopping threats before they reach users, businesses reduce the risk of infection by viruses and malware drastically.  And by eliminating access to non-work related websites, user productivity is increased.

How It Can Be Used

Web Content Filtering allows you to completely shut down sites using a variety of criteria. Perhaps you’d like to block popular social media sites like Facebook or dating sites that users might spend more time on than they should while at work. You can simply add the name of the domain you would like to block, i.e. facebook.com or match.com, and those websites will no longer be available from the workstations.

In addition, web content filtering services can block known threats based on type, such as known malware websites, IP address and even keywords.  It can be configured to block pornography, gambling and streaming websites automatically.  It can be as granular as it needs to be, granting internet access by user right or group rights.

Alternatively, it allows organizations to block ALL internet activity and instead approve only those websites that are needed by employees to complete their daily tasks. This is especially useful for organizations that must adhere to state or federal regulations.

Equipment Needed

The equipment and software needed will vary based on the size of the organization and the requirements of the particular business.  In some cases, cloud based software may be all that is needed. For larger organizations, a business-class firewall may be used in conjunction with cloud based software allowing in-house or outsourced IT managers to monitor the service.

Some managed IT companies may even add additional benefits to using their web content filtering services making your protection even more robust.  Be sure to ask them about these extra services, such as monitoring individual workstations, ensuring anti-virus is always up-to-date, installing Windows updates, and 3rd party updates for programs such as Adobe and Java.  All of these components, working together, provide your organization with a solid defense against the ever present threats that lurk only a few clicks away.

Benefits

By blocking unsuitable, unproductive and even illegal or dangerous web content, businesses can go a long way in protecting themselves, their data and their bottom line.  The benefits derived from using Web Content Filtering are seen immediately with greater employee productivity, reduced down time due to malicious attacks and elimination of potential criminal activity.  At the same time, web content filtering helps organizations meet compliance requirements set forth by their industry.

In conclusion, we all know that the internet has become an indispensable tool that allows us to perform daily tasks with ease.  Whether it’s communicating through email, promoting products & services on our websites and social media platforms, or conducting business with customers, the internet provides tremendous opportunities and risks alike.  Having a solid plan in place to protect against those risks is a must, and thankfully, web content filtering services make that an easy thing to do!

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Mike Dorr, President

Mike began as a Burgess network engineer in 1998. He later spent 3 years as Five County Credit Union’s Director of IT before returning as an owner in 2006. He lives in Bath with his wife and children and is an active member of Big Brothers Big Sisters.

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