Almost everyone needs access to the internet during work nowadays. With that in mind, there has to be a degree of control over what you allow on workplace computers, which is where content filtering comes in.
Businesses need to protect themselves from inappropriate use, both intentional and unintentional. Content filtering allows this by restricting access to certain sites when using the network. This way, you can micro-manage your staff and ensure that they are not taking advantage of your internet.
The Benefits of Content Filtering
There are numerous benefits to using content filters.
Firstly, content filtering helps you to protect the data that is on your IT storage systems. This is crucial for compliance with the new GDPR rules. They also help to restrict access to sites that are known to propagate viruses, malware, phishing and spyware.
Secondly, content filters allow you to be proactive in implementing IT policies. Since the system keeps track of each URL visited by a particular user, you can easily see how long and how frequently they visit these sites. This then helps you to find new sites to limit or block. Why this is important is because excessive internet use can have a severe impact on staff productivity. The system is therefore an important tool for management.
Lastly, an effective content filtering system will protect your business from any liabilities should a staff member access copyrighted materials. This could save you a lot of money and hassle down the line, so it is well worth investing in.
How Does Content Filtering Work?
Web content filtering software will restrict what websites a user can and cannot access. There are various ways to configure a system to suit your particular organisation and needs. The software should be considered as part of your overall network security plan, which should include hardware and software firewalls to protect your business from hackers, viruses and scams.
There are various types of content filter. The most basic, and perhaps most restrictive, is one which simply uses a blacklist and a whitelist. It involves the manual entry of websites, and can take a lot of time. You can also have keyword based filters, which block access to specific types of websites, such as those that contain adult content. These are not always reliable because they do not allow for context. Plus, it is difficult to have complete faith in a system which only blocks URLs that are known to be NSFW.
Content filters are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and in recent times we have seen a move towards more contextual filters. These are real-time, dynamic filters that analyse the URL against a database of keywords, taking into account the page content.
How to Do Content Filtering
There are two ways to implement a content filtering system. You can either install filter software on every device, or you can cover all devices by employing content filters on your servers. This will require a level of configuration skill because different departments will undoubtedly need access to different sites. For example, you may disable access to social media sites for everyone except your marketing or HR teams.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to content filters, which is why it can be useful to have some expert advice. At Ten Ten Systems, we work alongside clients to understand their needs, and advise them on the best solution. Contact us to to see how we can help your business to filter its web content effectively.