Cloud-based web filtering software is the natural progression from hardware-based and software-based solutions for filtering Internet content. Like most cloud-based technologies, cloud-based web filtering software is convenient, reliable and scalable. It does not have the upfront costs of hardware-based solutions nor the high maintenance overheads of software-based solutions; and, although all three solutions pretty much work the same way, cloud-based web filtering software has its advantages.
How Cloud-Based Web Filtering Software Works
As the name suggests, cloud-based web filtering software is located in the cloud rather than physically attached to – or installed on – your network. In order to connect to the service, you simply need to redirect your DNS server settings to point to our servers. The cloud-based software then auto-configures, and you can either start filtering the Internet using the software´s default settings, or create and apply your own user policies via the web-based management portal.
Like most solutions for filtering Internet content, cloud-based web filtering software uses a three-tier mechanism to maximize defenses against online threats, improve productivity and prevent users accessing inappropriate material:
- The first line of defense is SURBL and URIBL filters. These compare each request to visit a web page against lists of IP addresses known to be responsible for malware downloads, phishing attacks and spam emails. When a match is found, the request to visit the web page is denied. The lists of IP addresses are automatically updated as new threats are identified.
- Behind the “blacklists”, category filters can be used to prevent users visiting websites in certain categories. Administrators may want to prevent users visiting websites known to have a high likelihood of harboring malware (pharmaceutical and travel websites), those likely to impede productivity (gaming and social networking) or those containing inappropriate material.
- Keyword filters can be used to fine-tune the category filters and prevent users visiting websites containing specific words, specific apps or specific file extensions. This fine-tuning mechanism adds granularity to the Internet filtering process to achieve the objectives of Internet filtering without obstructing workflows.
Category filters and keyword filters can be applied by individual user, user-group or company-wide according to your existing user policies. Most solutions for filtering Internet content can be integrated with management tools such as Active Directory in order to accelerate the process of applying roles. Thereafter, administrators can monitor web activity in real-time via the management portal, or schedule customized reports by user, user-group, company-wide, bandwidth usage, category or time.
How Cloud-Based Web Filtering Software Improves Network Performance
One rarely discussed benefit of cloud-based web filtering software is how it improves network performance – or, strictly speaking, how it eliminates the workload put on servers by other solutions for filtering Internet content. This is due to way in which encrypted web pages are inspected by cloud-based web filtering software to establish the nature of their content.
Most solutions for filtering Internet content use a process called SSL inspection to decrypt, inspect, and re-encrypt the content of “secure” web pages. Unfortunately SSL inspection is now a necessary part of Internet filtering because hackers have been able to acquire fake SSL certificates and their malware payloads would avoid detection if it were not for SSL inspection.
The reason why a heavy workload is put on servers by hardware and software solutions for filtering Internet content is because there are so many encrypted web pages that need inspecting. Since Google announced it would enhance the rankings of encrypted websites in search engine results pages, more than half of the most-visited web pages in the world are encrypted.
The decryption, inspection, and re-encryption of half the world´s most-visited web pages places an incredible strain on servers. Often it will cause delays in some web-based activities – i.e. email – or users will find Internet access is temporarily unavailable. Although cloud-based web filtering software also uses SSL inspection to establish the content of encrypted web pages, the process is performed in the cloud – eliminating the workload on network servers and delivering an Internet service to users with imperceptible latency.
Try Cloud-Based Web Filtering Software for Free
SpamTitan offers a choice of two cloud-based solutions for filtering Internet content – WebTitan Cloud for businesses with a fixed network and WebTitan Cloud for WiFi for businesses that provide a wireless service for employees, guests, customers and students, etc. Both solutions for filtering Internet content have best-in-class malicious URL detection, phishing protection and antivirus software – all of which is updated automatically.
If you would like to experience the benefits of our cloud-based web filtering software, do not hesitate to contact us. We are offering businesses of all sizes and in all industry sectors the opportunity to try WebTitan Cloud or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi free for thirty days, with no contracts to sign, no credit cards required, and no obligation to continue using our service at the end of the trial period.
To find out more, speak with one of our team of Sales Technicians. They will be happy to answer any questions you have about solutions for filtering Internet content, guide you through the process of registering for your free trial, and explain the straightforward process of redirecting your DNS server settings towards our servers.
Within minutes, you could be maximizing your defenses against online threats, improving workplace productivity and preventing users accessing inappropriate material – all with no upfront costs and no additional workload on your servers.