Put simply, web filtering restricts what web content a reader can access with a browser from their computer or mobile device. However, there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to web filtering, and a web filtering strategy for a large design and manufacturing company is not necessarily suitable for use at an elementary school or small medical office. A thorough understanding of the intent of filtering and the methods available to realize that intent is required to implement a functional, effective and manageable solution.
The first question to ask when implementing web filtering is “Why do I need this?” The answer may vary, depending on the type of business, the needs of the users, regulatory requirements or concerns about actual or potential security and liability issues. However, the answer generally comes down to some combination or all of the following:
- Prevent access to web content and services that pose a threat to data security and integrity, such as known malware servers, phishing sites, BotNet command and control servers, infected documents and so forth.
- Prevent access to web content and services that are deemed objectionable, harmful or in violation of company policy or applicable laws. This would include preventing access to services that can be used to bypass content controls, such as private VPN and Proxy services.
- Minimize misuse of organization computing and network resources and maximize user productivity by limiting or blocking access to content that consumes bandwidth or time for non-business purposes.
- Allow access to web content and services used by the organization in the course of conducting approved operations and do so in a way that is transparent to end users and requires little or no manual intervention.
Regardless of the specifics, the reasons for implementing web filtering should be included in the Acceptable Use Policy section of your company’s Employee Handbook, and the fact that web filtering and activity logging may be used for enforcement should be made clear.
What Should I Do About It?
When it comes to protecting your business, you need to be covered on all fronts. Our managed IT services are designed to help you develop and implement the best web filtering practices for your business.