Should you consider investing in a Web Filter?

Should you consider investing in a Web Filter?


When you think of web filtering what is the first visual that comes to mind? For some it’s pop-ups and notifications to update my antivirus. Today’s web filtering capabilities have become more sophisticated, and so have the criminals attempting to infect systems.

According to one study, cybercrime costs have increased by 19 percent. Let’s break down three tips for protecting your business with web filtering.

1. Don’t be cheap with your security budget, invest in web filtering software

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Similar to purchasing insurance on your business, a solid web filter will provide additional security for your network. You should be shopping for software with keyword blocking, malware filtering, social media monitoring, redirects, P2P blocking, BYOD support, user notifications, 24/7 software support and custom acl or blacklist rules for fine tuning the sites that are blocked. Such as the blacklists offered by Squidblacklist.org.

You may also want to look into software that eliminates anonymous proxies or allows your organization to block specific sites related to gambling, gaming, streaming media or any site category that should not be accessed during work hours.

All of these features are limited when you use free web filtering services. To feel peace of mind, it’s important to put a little investment into your web filtering tools.

Additionally, the extra layer of coverage may prevent an internal, yet unintentional, threat to occur because your employee landed on a bad website. In fact, according to a study by Kansas State University, roughly 60 to 80 percent of employee time is spent surfing non-work related websites. Essentially the money you spend on your web filtering software could pay off tenfold in productivity if you limit some commonly surfed websites.

2. Make web filtering required for all employee devices

This may seem like an obvious statement but with today’s flex scheduling and mobility it’s easy for older devices to get overlooked. Consider using a web filtering tool that allows you to deploy updates across multiple platforms.

The best filters allow you to manage these devices through a central dashboard and make updates, or see traffic, on an as-needed basis. While we aren’t encouraging a Big Brother mentality, it’s good to know you can see the whole picture and focus on a problem before it becomes a threat.

Another great feature of this type of filtering tool is disaster recovery. If your web filtering platform is located in a cloud environment you can access your dashboard anytime, anywhere. For chief technology officers on the go, this is also a productivity plus in the event of a potential threat.

3. Understand content filtering basics.

You may not be an IT manager or CTO, but that doesn’t mean you should avoid learning how web filtering works. At its core, web filtering is established to screen incoming traffic from the web and determine whether it should be displayed – or blocked. It is also important to understand that web filters are not a replacement for quality antivirus and anti-malware software. While some web filters can block blacklisted malware domains and links, and others offer inline scanning for viruses and malware. Many of these malicious threats are transmitted via email or various other attack vectors, such as insider threats. Ultimately the threats are difficult to completely mitigate so investing in a robust solution is critical.

It’s important to understand some of the terminology useed in the first half of this article.

For example: blocking a redirect can prevent typo squatters from redirecting your search terms to unrelated sites that host malware. A typo squatter will change a URL from its known link to a similar URL that may have one additional letter (usually a consonant). Many users do not pay attention to the domain names in search results and are not as cautious as they should be when clicking links.

Another basic web filtering term is “anonymous proxies.” These are tools that facilitate anonymous traffic, making sources untraceable and can be, and are often used for the purpose of bypassing web filters. These proxies are typically used to mask malicious or otherwise criminal activity on the internet and block the location of a specific threat.

If you find that many of the terms mentioned in your web filtering research are too complicated we recommend using a google to do your homework. This helpful tool is also handy when you’re researching other IT security tools such as backup, antivirus, operation systems, and more.

So there is little question that you need a web filtering tool. Now that you are equipped with the resources and understanding to purchase an effective solution, we recommend that you act immediately on this mission. Your employees are landing on thousands of websites a day and the liability falls on the organization to protect your assets, your data, and your network. Ultimately it is your brand that could suffer from a security breach.

Strong categorized domain blacklists from Squidblacklist.org

A critical component of an effective content control strategy.


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