Finding the best web filtering company to fulfill your organization’s needs can be a time-consuming process. There are many web filtering companies offering website content filtering products of various types and performance levels, and rarely is a website content filtering company able to provide a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
To help determine which may be the best Internet content filtering company for your organization, we have compiled a list of features you may wish to consider when evaluating content control filtering companies. First though, we would like to discuss some of the reasons for implementing a web filtering solution and the drawbacks of selecting a solution that lacks versatility.
The Issues That Can be Resolved by a Web Filtering Company
Different organizations have different motives for approaching a web filtering company with a view towards implementing an Internet content filtering solution. Whereas some will want a URL filtering company to prevent employees from engaging in non-work related activities and to avert potential HR issues, others will be evaluating web filtering companies for the purpose of complying with industry, state and federal regulations.
Many organizations take advantage of the products offered by an Internet access control company to improve their security posture. Internet access control can be an essential element of a cybersecurity defense to help protect against phishing, malware, and a wide range of other online threats. By blocking access to sites known to contain malware, a web filtering online company is helping an organization to mitigate the risk of an infection being inadvertently installed on their network.
Bandwidth issues can also be resolved by content control filtering companies. Bandwidth issues arise when employees or customers download or stream videos from websites such as Netflix and YouTube, and create bottlenecks in the network that prevent other users from accessing the Internet. Rather than pay for more bandwidth from ISPs, organizations can use an Internet content filtering company to block bandwidth-hogging websites.
The Drawbacks of Products Offered by Some Web Filtering Companies
There are many advantages to be gained by using a website content filtering company to control access to Internet content, but there can also be some drawbacks if you select a product offered by a web filtering online company that lacks versatility. It is important to be aware of these potential problems, as they can have a bearing on which Internet access control company or product you should choose.
One of the most common problems associated with URL filtering company products is the accidental blocking of permissible website content. For example, the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) stipulates that schools and libraries must block access to pornography. However, if a filtering product does not have sufficient versatility, all sexual content may be blocked – including important educational material.
Most products offered by content control filtering companies require some fine-tuning to prevent the over-blocking of website content, and many of the potential drawbacks of website content filtering occur when a web filtering company cannot provide “granular” controls with their product. Granular controls help system administrators carefully apply acceptable use policies so that content filtering can be applied by user-group, by location, or by time.
How Does URL Filtering Work?
URL filters prevents the display of websites or webpages if they contravene an organization’s acceptable use policy. URL filtering is performed in one of three ways.
Blacklists are lists of websites and webpages known to contain inappropriate material or harbor malware. Blacklists can be created and maintained locally, or obtained from commercial vendors or Internet-safety organizations. The Internet Watch Foundation produces a blacklist of child pornography websites but, in order to ensure you are using up-to-date blacklists for sites containing malware, it may be in your best interests to subscribe to a service provided by web filtering companies that maintain updated lists.
Category-based filters are a convenient way of blocking selected Internet content quickly. Each website and webpage is assigned a category based on the content of the page. The categories are usually pre-set by your website content filtering company to include pornography, gambling, online shopping, chatrooms, anonymizer sites, and social media networks, but some web filtering companies also allow you to customize your own categories.
|Block Access to Website Categories Such As:|
|Pornography||Online Gambling||Real Estate Sites|
|Hate Speech||Online Shopping||Chatrooms/IM|
|Racial Violence||Social Media||Dating Websites|
|Discrimination||Travel Websites||Job Search Sites|
Your chosen Internet content filtering company should also be able to offer you the option of Internet filtering by keyword. With keyword-based filtering, each webpage is scanned for specific keywords. Access to the page is allowed or blocked by the URL filtering company depending on whether certain user-defined keywords are present.
Can Content Control Filtering be Bypassed?
In certain circumstances, yes. Content control filtering solutions that are installed onto individual devices are easy to deactivate with a browse through Google, and it is also possible to bypass the filtering mechanisms by using anonymizer sites if these are not blocked via the category filters. It is also possible to bypass content control filtering solutions with USB browsers.
The way to get around these issues is to implement server-based content control filter which can only be accessed by an administrator. There will be no individual devices to deactivate, the administrator has control over which category filters are applied, and has access to a comprehensive reporting suite through which they can identify attempts to bypass the content control filters and web traffic travelling through non-standard ports.
There may be times when an administrator deliberately wants websites to bypass the filtering mechanisms. These usually occur during times of peak web activity when, due to the SSL inspection process, Internet speeds are slow. Administrators can whitelist trusted, business-critical websites so that access to them is not impeded; and, as these will likely be the websites most visited by network users, this will also reduce the load on the CPU.
A feature known as a “cloud key” also exists on some web filtering company´s products. Cloud keys enable unfiltered access to the Internet – or unfiltered access inasmuch as the category and keyword filters are overridden. The protection provided by blacklists, URIBL/SUBRL filters and malicious URL detection software still operates. An example of when a cloud key might be used is when a public library provides filtered Internet access for children and non-filtered Internet access for adults.
How Do Products Offered by a Web Filtering Online Company Differ?
Enterprise-level web filters fall into two main categories – hardware-based solutions and software-based solutions. A web filtering online company should be able to offer the choice of the two, but many organizations avoid hardware-based solutions because the initial cost of implementation is high and the solutions can lack scalability. As an organization grows, new hardware appliances may be required. There is also a cost associated with managing and maintaining the appliances, making these solutions less cost effective for many small to medium businesses.
Most content control filtering companies offer software-based solutions. The web filtering company will install the software on individual machines, on a dedicated server, or in a virtual environment. Software-based solutions require a lower initial outlay and costs can often be spread over the duration of a subscription. Software-based solutions tend to be more scalable and versatile, and an Internet content filtering company may also be able to offer an even more versatile solution if it is able to provide a cloud filtering service.
The Benefits of Using a Cloud Filtering Company for Access Control
A cloud filtering company uses a DNS-based software solution, so all that is required to start filtering Internet content is to make a change to your DNS and point it to your service provider’s servers – a process that will take less than 2 minutes to complete once you have the IP address of your cloud filtering company.
No hardware purchases are required from the cloud filtering company and there is no need to install any software on end users’ devices or servers. Configuration is straightforward, and acceptable use policies can be easily applied using an intuitive web-based interface. All controls and settings can be accessed remotely, meaning that multiple locations can be managed via one portal and there is no need for on premise IT support from your cloud filtering company.
Cloud filtering is proving to be a popular Internet filtering solution due to the ease of implementation, management, and maintenance. A cloud filtering company – such as WebTitan Cloud – provides a product that has the versatility and scalability most organizations require, while remaining one of the most effective filtering solutions on the market.
Choose a Website Content Filtering Company that Provides Excellent Customer Service
A website content filtering company may be helpful when trying to sign you up for their service; however, what happens after you have paid for your subscription? How easy will it be to contact your web filtering company and get support or a quick resolution to your problem? Choosing an Internet access control company that offers excellent customer service and support can make life much simpler if you do ever experience problems.
At TitanHQ we believe that the customer is king. We have heard about the poor customer service provided by some web filtering companies and how difficult and time-consuming it can be to get an answer to a question or get a problem resolved. We take great pride in providing our customers with industry-leading customer service. We do not anticipate you having any problems with the WebTitan portfolio of filtering products but, if you do, we will rapidly resolve any issues and answer any product queries you may have.
Why Choose WebTitan as Your Internet Content Filtering Company?
WebTitan has been developed to make Internet access control as easy as possible. WebTitan can be supplied as software-based gateway or as a cloud filtering solution for protecting wired and wireless networks. Some of the main benefits of WebTitan products include:
- No need to purchase any additional hardware
- Cloud filtering options require no software downloads
- Intuitive controls require no technical expertise
- Internet control is possible with no latency
- Highly granular controls allow precision blocking of inappropriate website content
- Configuration is a quick and easy process
- Customers benefit from industry-leading customer service
- Optional monthly billing
WebTitan also includes:
- SSL inspection
- Integration with Active Directory, LDAP, and eDirectory
- HTTP/HTTPS and FTP scanning
- Support for Safe Search and YouTube for Schools
- Real time viewing of browsing history
- Automated reporting
- APIs for ease of integration
- White label products for MSPs and resellers
- Multiple hosting options
Try a WebTitan URL Filtering Solution for Free
If your organization is investigating ways in which it could improve its online security posture, complying with industry, state and federal regulations, or prevent employees from engaging in non-work related activities, speak with us about a free trial of a WebTitan URL filtering solution.
Our team of Sales Technicians will be happy to answer any questions about choosing SpamTitan as your Internet content filtering company, and will ask you about your current network and specific requirements in order to start your free trial of the WebTitan product most suited to your circumstances.
Our free trial offer gives you the opportunity to evaluate our Internet URL filtering solution in your own environment and determine the optimal settings to achieve your objectives. Then, should you subsequently choose to subscribe to one of our competitive pricing plans, no further configuration of the Internet URL filtering solution will be necessary.