It is likely you are aware that Internet access control filters can reduce your network´s exposure to web-borne threats such as malware and ransomware. However, choosing which filter may be most effective for your other operating requirements can be difficult.
There are many different types of filters to control Internet access and, if your knowledge of Internet access control filters stretches back to the days when they were first developed, you may recall they were inflexible, complicated to configure, and expensive.
Modern filters to control Internet access are much different. Typically software-based or cloud-based, they have highly granular controls that are managed from a centralized administration portal and are subscription-based solutions – requiring no capital investment and little maintenance.
A further change from a decade or two ago concerns how filters to control Internet access have become more effective at detecting web-borne threats. They can protect network users from falling victim to phishing scams and also protect the mobile devices with which users connect to your network.
How Filters to Control Internet Access Work
Using our WebTitan-branded filters as an example, Internet access control filters work using a two-stage process to control Internet access. In the first stage, requests to visit websites are checked against blacklists and other security mechanisms to ensure the requested website does not harbor malware or ransomware, or does not have an IP address from which phishing emails have originated.
Once the request has cleared this hurdle, the filter checks its filtering parameters to see if the nature of the website´s content is blocked by a user policy. User policies are set by network administrators and can either be imported from existing management systems or created manually with a few clicks of a mouse. Typically manually-created user policies are applied using category filters and keywords filters.
There are fifty-three categories of website content into which more than 6 billion web pages are sorted according to their content. Network administrators select which categories of content they want to control access to (i.e. pornography, drugs, gambling, social media, etc.), and – if different policies are being applied to different groups of network users – select which group(s) to apply the setting to.
The category filter settings can be fine-tuned using keyword settings, which can also be used to control access to certain types of content without controlling access to a whole category. The filtering parameters can also be applied by individual network user, by time, by bandwidth, and IP address, with the facility available to “whitelist” specific websites for specific users if necessary.
Determining the Effectiveness of Internet Access Control Filters
In order to determine the effectiveness of Internet access control filters, network administrators should be able to monitor web activity in real time via the centralized administration portal. There should also be the facility to order reports of historic web activity in order to identify which requests to visit websites have been denied, who made the requests, and why they were denied.
This level of information can assist network administrators with data that can help resolve HR issues, identify trends and compile risk assessments. For business that offer a public WiFi service (for example a hotel or restaurant), this level of data can also reveal anonymous data about network users´ browsing habits – data that can be used to create tailored promotions and special events.
In business scenarios, controlling access to the Internet should have a positive effect on productivity, as employees will be unable to “cyber-slack” by visiting non-work related websites. In schools and colleges, students should be prevented from visiting websites with harmful content in compliance with CIPA and many state laws. Internet access control should also mitigate the threat of child identity theft.
The effectiveness of Internet content control filters will depend on the filtering parameters that are applied. In order to achieve maximum effectiveness, ease of use is a prime consideration. For this reason, all WebTitan-branded filters to control Internet access have been designed with ease of use as a priority, and you are invited to determine the effectiveness of our Internet access control filters for free.
Take a Free Trial of a WebTitan Internet Access Control Filter
If you are looking for an Internet access control filter that is a robust defense against web-borne threats and is effective for your other operating requirements, we invite you to take a free trial of a WebTitan Internet access control filter to evaluate its effectiveness and ease of use in your own environment. We offer a number of WebTitan filters to control Internet access from which to choose:
- WebTitan Cloud is a cloud-based filter implemented by redirecting your DNS settings.
- WebTitan Cloud for WiFi is suitable for WiFi hotspots and businesses with a BYOD policy.
To find out more about our free trial offer, and to discuss which of WebTitan´s filters to control Internet access will be best suited to your network, please call our team of Sales Technicians. One of our team will explain the trial offer to you in detail, answer any questions you have, and guide you through the process for starting your free trial of an easy-to-use and effective WebTitan Internet access control filter.