Over the past few years, the internet has become a lifeline of your company, significantly improving workplace performance and workflow. It gives your employees the opportunity to communicate in real-time, safely transfer and store massive amounts of data, and find answers to any question almost instantly.
Still, what happens when the use of the internet becomes a distraction for your team members or, worse yet, when it starts compromising your organizations’ security?
This is where web filtering solutions can help.
What is web content filtering and what problems can it solve?
Let’s find out.
What is Content Filtering?
Simply put, web content filtering is done by software that prevents access to websites that have been marked as inappropriate or dangerous for your organization. It is based on matching strings of characters. Logically, once these strings match, the content is blocked.
A content filter can be both a piece of software and a hardware-based solution. Sometimes, content filters are integrated with internet firewalls and, in this case, they serve for security purposes only. However, apart from risky websites, web content filtering can also be used to block sites unrelated to work, such as pornographic content or even social networks.
Now that you know what web content filtering is, let’s see some of its major benefits for small businesses.
Preventing Phishing Attacks
According to McAfee, the collaborations between cybercriminals will grow in 2019 and beyond, resulting in the further evolution of cyberattacks. Unfortunately, the majority of small businesses are not prepared for them. Statistics say that over 70% of organizations that are hacked are small businesses.
One of the most common cybersecurity issues businesses face is phishing attacks. They involve tactics used to obtain users’ data by deception. Phishing attacks include a wide range of fraudulent activities carried out by email spoofing or instant messaging. Some hackers even create fake websites that look like real ones and, then, deceive users by asking for their sensitive information.
But, how is this relevant to small businesses and web filtering?
Well, one of the major causes of online breaches is employees’ negligence. If they’re using open wi-fi networks, log into suspicious sites, or download infected files from your company’s computer, they may put the entire organization at risk.
This is where investing in a secure web gateway and web filtering options may help. Namely, they offer solutions like internet bandwidth management, information control, URL filters, traffic control, and proxy control, behavior analysis, preventing malicious content from appearing in your employees’ inboxes. Even if an infected link reaches employees’ email addresses, a web filter will offer an additional layer of security, immediately blocking access to malicious websites. Web filters can also enable safer internet browsing by eliminating inappropriate and non-business related websites from search results.
Managing Internet Access and Increasing Employee Productivity
Have you ever asked yourself how much time your employee waste daily, weekly, or monthly? An average employee spends a great amount of time on the internet, social media specifically. This results in a reduction of the productivity of the entire company.
Web content filtering can help you resolve this problem. Like I’ve already mentioned above, web filtering can block access to social networking platforms. It minimizes access to not-suitable-for-work (NSFW) content, such as gambling, gaming, and pornographic sites. Moreover, it can minimize illegal activities, such as downloading copyrighted files. Knowing that you’re monitoring their internet usage in real-time, employees will use online resources more responsively.
You should also build comprehensive guidelines on how employees should use corporate accounts. The guide should be written in plain language and explain how answering suspicious emails, downloading questionable files, and clicking on shady links and messages may hurt both their personal and your company’s security.
By combining web content filtering with stricter guidelines on internet use, you will encourage your employees to spend less time on nonwork activities and significantly raise the overall workplace productivity.
Fighting against Exploit Kits
Just like their mere name says, exploit kits are programs for collecting multiple exploits. They consist of codes that identify and exploit vulnerabilities in your web browser, browser extensions, and plugins. If your browser is vulnerable and you bump into an infected URL containing an exploit kit, the malware will be automatically downloaded and infect your systems.
As cybersecurity solutions are becoming more powerful and browsers are getting more secure, it has become harder for exploit kits to attack and infect your systems. Still, there are still certain exploit kits, such as Fallout EK, RIG EK, Magnitude EK, Underminer EK, which still pose significant threats for online user.
This is where, again, web content filtering can help. Filters will block access to any suspicious sites that are either owned by hackers or infected by them, as well as prevent the malware to be downloaded.
Over to You
Web content filtering delivers multiple benefits to businesses of all shapes and sizes. It gives you the opportunity to prepare yourself better and minimize the risk of cyberattacks. Content filtering solutions are also a great addition to your guidelines on internet use, letting you monitor your employees’ online behaviors in real time. By minimizing access to online content that is not related to your business’ activities, you will maximize your teams’ performance, prevent fraudulent activities, and keep your network safer.
Have you already invested in web content filtering? Is there anything you would like to add? We’d like to hear from you!
Raul is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying travel, football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com