Although most organizations already have robust antivirus software to detect malware once it has been downloaded, enterprise web filtering software prevents Internet users from visiting websites on which malware – or any other web-borne threat – may be present.
Importantly, this includes blocking access to phishing websites. Phishing campaigns are one of the biggest threats to online security as they take advantage of the weakest link in your online security – your employees – to obtain login credentials or download malware.
Once a cybercriminal has an employee´s login credentials, it is easy for them to steal or corrupt data. For an organization in a regulated industry, the unauthorized exposure to data can result in significant fines and civil action – even if the unauthorized exposure resulted from a criminal action by somebody else.
Phishers can also lure employees onto malware-infected websites containing exploit kits via spam emails and malicious adverts (malvertising). Browser vulnerabilities are then leveraged to silently download malicious software onto employees´ devices.
Enterprise web filtering software provides an extra level of online security by blocking redirects, and restricting access to compromised websites, websites containing malicious advertising, and websites that hide their true identity behind a proxy server. It is also possible to configure enterprise web filtering software to block botnets and hackers’ command and control center communications.
Secondary Benefits of Web Filter Software
In addition to providing an extra level of online security, web filter software can also help increase productivity, prevent HR issues from arising in the workplace, and control bandwidth wastage. The software does this via category and keyword filters that allow network administrators to control what online content employees can access.
For example, if your organization is aware that certain employees are “cyberslacking”, access to gaming websites, sports websites and personal social media accounts can be blocked. Access to pornographic or discriminatory online content can be blocked to prevent employees from claiming they are not being provided with a safe working environment, while blocking access to video streaming websites such as YouTube and Netflix can conserve bandwidth.
Evaluating Web Filtering Software
There are many considerations when choosing enterprise web filtering software and no shortage of options to choose from. Yet finding enterprise web filter software that is cost effective, has a low management overhead, and is easy to maintain can be a difficult task.
To help you choose the most suitable solution we have listed some of the most important features to look for when searching for enterprise web filtering software, some further information on your options, and the best place to start your search.
Enterprise Web Filter Software Feature Comparison
It is important to compare enterprise web filtering software features to ensure that you get the best software solution to suit your organization’s needs. An enterprise web filter software comparison can help you decide which software platform most closely matches your organization’s requirements. To help in this regard, we have listed some of the key enterprise web filter software features below.
Key Enterprise Web Filtering Software Features
Enterprise web filter software features vary considerably between providers, so much so that choosing the best enterprise web filter software can be confusing. To start you off on the right track we have listed some of the most important features below.
Not all web filtering solutions allow encrypted website traffic to be inspected. If you do not inspect encrypted website content it could allow users to visit malicious websites. Secure sites – those starting with HTTPS are not always safe. Criminals have found ways to falsely obtain SSL certification. If you want the maximum protection from Internet threats, look for enterprise web filter software that incorporates HTTPS and SSL inspection.
Protection from malware and phishing websites
Phishing is one of the most effective methods cybercriminals use to gain access to login credentials. Anti-phishing protection is now a major part of cybersecurity defenses. Make sure you choose web filter software that incorporates anti-phishing controls, as well as protection from malware, botnets, adware, and spyware.
Blocking of anonymizers and port bypassing
If enterprise web filter software is used, it should not be possible for end users to gain access to banned web applications and restricted websites. Look for a solution that prevents IP and port bypassing to stop end users from circumnavigating the content controls.
Time-based content filtering
Time-based web filters can be used to restrict the content that can be accessed during times of the day, such as office hours, and lifted during lunchtimes and break times. Time-based content controls also allow enterprises to restrict access to websites to conserve bandwidth at times when network use is heavy.
Automatic updating of software
If a software solution is used, from time to time patches will need to be applied and software updates will be necessary. To ease the administrative burden on IT departments and to ensure your software is always up to date, choose enterprise web filtering software that is maintained and updated by the platform provider.
Integration with LDAP / NetIQ / Active Directory
There are certain categories of website content that can be blocked for the entire organization – pornography for instance. However, some privileges will need to be set by department or user group. The IT department may need to download software and the marketing department will need access to social media sites, yet you may not want those as global settings. Setting individual privileges can be time consuming. Web filtering software that integrates with Active Directory, NetIQ and LDAP will make setting user group privileges a much easier and less time-consuming process.
Excellent technical support
Enterprise web filter software may be easy to install and manage, but at times you may have questions or experience integration or configuration issues. Not all enterprise web filter software providers offer excellent technical support. If you want to problems to be rapidly resolved, ensure you choose a software provider that can give you support when you need it most.
Cost of Enterprise Web Filtering Software
If cost is one of the most important considerations, you are likely to find cloud-based enterprise web filtering software to be the most cost effective choice. With cloud deployments there is no need to download software onto servers of individual devices. This will save a considerable amount of time and effort. With 100% cloud-based solutions, all software is maintained and updated by the software provider so there is no need to update the software or apply patches yourself. Cloud-based Internet filter software can be installed, configured, and maintained remotely, so there is no need to use on premise support staff.
The cost of enterprise web filtering software will depend on the number of users or devices that need to simultaneously connect to the network. Hardware-based solutions must be purchased for ranges of users – 1-500, 501-1000 etc. There is therefore less wastage with software-based solutions.
Software licenses are usually purchased for a year, although longer term commitments are usually rewarded with a discount. Considerable savings can be made by purchasing software licenses for two or three years. It may also be possible to spread the cost of enterprise web filtering software rather than pay for your licenses all at once. Some web filtering software providers accept monthly payments to make their solutions more affordable.
Enterprise Class Web Filtering Solutions from TitanHQ
TitanHQ offers three different enterprise web filtering software solutions, all of which have excellent scalability, are quick and easy to implement, and easy to manage.
The most powerful software solution is WebTitan Gateway, offering the maximum control of Internet content and the best protection from web-borne threats. WebTitan Gateway can be installed on your existing hardware as a software solution or as a virtual appliance. For ease of installation, WebTitan Gateway features built-in automatic network configuration.
WebTitan Cloud is a DNS-based URL filtering solution for the enterprise. Installation and configuration takes minutes, and all settings can be accessed via an easy to use web-based control panel without any need for onsite support. WebTitan Cloud is the most practical choice for MSPs looking to offer web filtering-as-a-service to their clients.
WebTitan Cloud for Wi-Fi is the ideal choice for providers of Wi-Fi hotspots and Wi-Fi networks. Our solution allows Internet content to be carefully controlled and protects Wi-Fi users from Internet threats. WebTitan Cloud for Wi-Fi can protect Wi-Fi networks of all sizes, from single routers to nationwide public Wi-Fi access points.
We want to make sure that you choose the most appropriate solution to match your organization’s exact needs and requirements. For helpful advice on the most suitable option, call our friendly sales team today who will be happy to help.