Many businesses want to block websites at work and exercise greater control over employee internet access. Acceptable internet usage policies can be developed and employees told what content they are allowed to access at work, but there are always some employees that will ignore the rules.

In some cases, policy violations may warrant instant dismissal or other disciplinary action, which takes HR staff away from other important duties. If staff are fired, replacements must be found, trained, and brought up to speed, and the productivity losses that result can be considerable.

The Dangers of Unfettered Internet Access

Before explaining how to block websites at work, it is worthwhile explaining the problems that can arise from the failure to exert control over the content that can be accessed through wired and wireless networks.

While extreme cases of internet abuse need to be tackled through HR, low level internet abuse can also be a problem. Any time an employee accesses a website for personal reasons, it is time that is not being spent on work duties. Checking emails or quickly visiting a social media website is unlikely to have a major impact on productivity, but when cyber-slacking increases its effect can certainly be felt. If all employees spent 30 minutes a day on personal internet use, the productivity losses would be be considerable – A business with 100 workers would lose 50 hours of working time a day, or 1,100 hours a month!

In addition to lost opportunities, internet use carries a risk. Casual surfing of the internet by employees increases the probability of users encountering malware. The accessing of personal webmail at work could easily result in a malware infection on a work device, as personal mail accounts are not protected by the filtering controls of an organization’s email security gateway. If illegal activities are taking place at work, the legal ramifications can be considerable. It will be the business that is liable in many cases, rather than the individual employee.

The easiest solution is for businesses to enforce their acceptable internet usage policies and simply block websites at work that are not required for normal working duties. Preventing end users from visiting certain categories of web content – social media websites, gaming and gambling websites, dating sites, adult content, and other NSFW web content – is the easiest solution.

Even legitimate use of the internet for work purposes carries risks. There has been a major increase in phishing attacks on businesses in recent years and mitigating attacks can prove incredibly costly. Technical solutions that are used to block websites at work to prevent cyber-slacking can also be configured to block access to phishing websites and prevent malware and ransomware downloads.

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The Easy Way to Block Websites at Work

The easiest way to block websites in the workplace is to use a web filtering solution. This could be a physical appliance through which all internet traffic is routed, a virtual appliance installed on your existing hardware, or a cloud-based solution. The latter is a popular solution for SMBs as the cost of implementation is minimal and the web filter can be set up in a matter of minutes. All that is required is to make a simple change to point the DNS to the cloud web-filter and all traffic will be routed though the solution.

Not all businesses need to exercise the same controls over internet content, so granular controls are essential. With a cloud-based web filter such as WebTitan, it is easy to block websites at work. The administrator simply logs into the administration panel using a web browser and clicks on the checkboxes of content that they want the filter to block. Blocking adult entertainment, gambling, gaming, dating, and social media by category is common.

It is not practical to apply the same settings across the board for all employees. The marketing department, for instance, will need access to social media networks when other employees may not. With WebTitan, filtering controls can easily be set at the organization level, by user group, or for individuals.

With WebTitan Cloud you can control the internet and block threats no matter where your users access the internet. WebTitan Cloud works for users both on and off the network, so you can protect office workers and employees working remotely using the same solution.

Further Information on Blocking Websites in the Workplace

If you would like further information on how you can selectively block websites at work and take control over the content that your employees can access, speak to TitanHQ today.

Our friendly and knowledgeable sales team will be able to answer all your questions, explain in detail how WebTitan works, and suggest the best deployment option to suit your needs.

After learning about the best setup to suit your business, you can schedule a product demonstration and/or start a free trial to see WebTitan in action.

In 20 minutes your content control issues could be solved and you could be filtering the internet and blocking access to unsuitable, unsavory, and harmful web content.



The Easy Way to Block Websites at Work and Control Employee Internet Access FAQ

What is DNS Filtering?

DNS filtering is when content filtering takes place at the DNS lookup stage of a web request, when the URL is checked to find its corresponding IP address. The request is processed via the web filtering service provider and the IP address will only be returned if the web resource does not violate administrator-defined policies. Filtering takes place without any content being downloaded and there is no latency.

Can I block Facebook Messenger without blocking access to Facebook?

You can block Facebook Messenger without blocking access to Facebook with WebTitan. It is easy to prevent employees from using Facebook Messenger at work without blocking access to the entire Facebook website and the process takes just a few seconds. Just open the WebTitan Cloud administration panel, select Filtering URL keywords, and add in two blacklisted keywords.

Is it difficult to block websites in the workplace?

It is not difficult to block websites in the workplace due to category-based web filtering. Category-based web filtering makes content control simple. You simply access your cloud administration panel, navigate to category controls, and you can restrict access to 53 distinct categories of website using the checkbox options. Apply those changes and all websites in those categories will be blocked. You can also create your own custom categories.

Can web filters be bypassed by employees?

Web filters can be bypassed by employees unless controls are implemented to restrict access to proxies, VPNs, and other anonymization services. These controls will be sufficient to prevent users from bypassing filtering controls. However, you should also lock down your DNS settings to prevent users from manually changing the DNS settings to bypass the filtering controls.

Can I view user Internet activity in real time?

You can view user Internet activity in real time or retrospectively. With WebTitan you can do both with a few clicks of the mouse. All information is easily accessible via the administration portal and can either be viewed or exported with the click of a mouse.

What is the difference between web filtering and DNS filtering?

The difference between web filtering and DNS filtering is that web filtering is more granular. Web filtering allows organizations to filter the Internet by URL rather than by domain name or IP address. Therefore, if there is (for example) a news website employees need to access for their jobs, but the organization wants to block access to the sports and leisure pages of the website, the organization can blacklist just the pages it does not want employees to access. DNS filtering lacks the granularity to block selected pages of a website and can only block the whole website.

How does casual surfing increase the risk from malware?

Many websites are monetized by advertising, and it is not uncommon for cybercriminals to place ads on popular sites that are weaponized with malware, trojans, ransomware, or cryptomining scripts. Additionally, clicking on an ad can take a casual Internet surfer to a phishing site where they may be asked to create login credentials to progress to the area of interest. Many employees have poor password habits, and could use a username and password that matches a corporate account.

Which is the best type of web filtering solution for the workplace?

The best type of web filtering solution for the workplace is most often a cloud-based solution. This is because a cloud-based solution can control on-premises and remote Internet access. It is also important to be aware that the web filtering vendor most often manages cloud-based solutions. Therefore, all updates, patches, and technical issues are the responsibility of the vendor rather than the organization’s IT department – reducing the demand for internal IT support.

Selectively block websites at work and take control over the content that your employees can access. See how with a FREE WebTitan demo.
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