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A web content filtering tool is an important element of cybersecurity defense. Security posture can be greatly enhanced by preventing employees from accessing websites with potentially harmful content. Recent research conducted by Google indicates more than 800,000 websites have been infected with drive-by download malware, while Symantec’s research indicates as many as three quarters of websites contain security vulnerabilities.
Malware is being developed and released at an extraordinary rate and new ransomware strains are causing IT security professionals many sleepless nights. Fortunately, tools for filtering web content can be used to mitigate the risk from these malicious programs.
One of the main problems for IT professionals is preventing end users from inadvertently installing malware. Hackers are using a range of social engineering techniques to fool end users into divulging sensitive information such as their login credentials via links to malicious websites that are sent via email - along with convincing reasons for clicking on the links.
Employees can be trained how to identify phishing emails and taught security best practices; however, it would be unreasonable to expect all employees in an organization to be able to avoid web-borne threats 100% of the time. Unfortunately, all it may take is for one single employee to make a single mistake for a hacker to gain the foothold needed to launch a successful attack on an organization´s computer system.
Tools for filtering web content can be configured to prevent end users from accessing harmful websites. Phishing websites can be blocked and end users can be prevented from downloading harmful files. If a web content filtering tool is not used, too much reliance is placed on employees recognizing web-borne threats.
Restricting access to the Internet with a web content filtering tool is not only about keeping computers free from malware. Many man hours are lost as a result of personal Internet use. Acceptable Usage Policies (AUPs) can be developed but, unless those AUPs are enforced, some employees are still likely to abuse access to the Internet.
The productivity losses from gaming sites, gambling sites, and social media networks should not be under-estimated. A survey by CreditDonkey in 2013 showed that 60% of employees use social media sites at work. Only 2% said they use the sites only for work purposes. A survey conducted by Forbes in 2013 suggests the average employee wastes 2-3 hours of each working day on non-work related activities. Personal Internet use can therefore be a huge drain on productivity. Restricting access to social media networks and other non-work related websites with a website content filtering tool has the potential to greatly improve productivity at work.
A web content filtering tool can also be used to prevent employees from accessing inappropriate website content such as pornography. Two thirds of HR professionals have found pornography on employees’ computers and the HR issues that can develop as a result of accessing pornography at work can be considerable.
It is difficult to estimate the cost to businesses from the accessing of pornography at work, although one study put the cost to U.S. businesses in lost productivity at $16.9 billion per year. By using a web content filtering tool to block pornography and other inappropriate content, organizations can prevent many HR issues from developing and potentially increase productivity in the workplace.
Conducting a website content filtering tool comparison can make it easier to find the most suitable web filtering solution for your business. There are many choices available for business users, and many different features to consider.
There are two main categories of website content filtering tool: An appliance-based website content filtering tool or a software-based web content filtering tool. Both have advantages and disadvantages.
An appliance-based website content filtering tool will involve a much higher initial cost as the appliance must be purchased. The cost can be considerable, with the starting price usually around $1,000 and rising to several thousand dollars. This type of web content filtering tool is less scalable. If greater capacity and bandwidth are required, a new appliance will need to be purchased. Installation and maintenance can also prove expensive and maintenance is likely to require on premise IT support.
A software-based web content filtering tool requires no hardware purchases and offers far greater scalability. Software is maintained by the solution provider and web filtering settings can be easily applied. Software-based tools for filtering web content tend to offer far greater granularity and finer content control than appliance based filters.
Cloud-based tools for filtering web content are often the most cost effective choice for small to medium sized businesses looking for a basic web filter to control access to harmful Internet content and protect the business from malware and ransomware infections.
A cloud-based web content filtering tool is quick to install and configure and does not require on premise IT support. Software updates are installed by the provider at platform level and the web-based interface makes configuration and management possible from any location. If you are an MSP, and want to sell web filtering-as-a-service, a cloud based solution is the easiest option to manage.
Website content filtering tool pricing varies considerably from provider to provider. If cost is a major consideration, software-based tools for filtering web content may be the most logical choice as no hardware purchases are required.
No matter which web content filtering tool you choose it will need to be configured. Your AUPs will need to be uploaded, different user groups set up, and your chosen solution will need to integrate with existing systems.
If your most skilled IT staff are required to maintain a website content filtering tool, perform software updates and configuration changes, your chosen solution may not prove to be as cost-effective in the medium to long term. Choosing a web filtering solution that is easy to configure and does not require the time of experienced IT staff can offer huge savings.
Many vendors supply cost-effective web filtering solutions, yet offer poor customer support when problems are experienced. Compatibility and integration issues can cause many headaches and become a major drain on IT resources. Choose a provider with excellent customer support and, if any problems are experienced, they will be rapidly resolved.
Consider how a web content filtering tool should grow with your business. When your business grows, can your chosen web filtering solution expand with your company? Will additional hardware purchases be required? If you ever need to downsize, will you be able to obtain a refund for unused portions of your license? The needs of businesses are in a constant state of flux. Flexible website content filtering tool pricing can result in considerable savings if your business environment changes.
Filtering the Internet to protect networks from malware and prevent access to inappropriate website content is important for all businesses, and at TitanHQ we believe IT support staff have more important tasks to concentrate on than installing, configuring, and maintaining web filters.
This is why we have developed our products to be easy to install and manage. Whichever of our web filtering solutions you choose, you benefit from low management overhead, rapid implementation and configuration, and easy integration with a range of APIs.
Many web content filtering tool vendors fall short when it comes to customer support. At TitanHQ we understand that problems need rapid solutions. We do not anticipate you experiencing any issues, but - if you do - our support teams are available to offer a helping hand. We take great pride in offering industry-leading customer support.
We offer two convenient solutions for organizations that want to improve their security posture and carefully control access to Internet content by employees and customers.
WebTitan Gateway is a powerful web filtering tool that is installed within your infrastructure as a gateway service. WebTitan Gateway requires no additional hardware purchases and can be run on your own hardware or deployed as a virtual appliance on all major hypervisors.
WebTitan Cloud – and WebTitan Cloud for WiFi - have been developed for maximum convenience. Implementation only requires a change to DNS settings, and configuration and maintenance is easy - requiring no on premise IT support.
All of our solutions have excellent scalability, no bandwidth limitations, low management overhead, and no latency. We also offer a range of hosting options and white labels for MSPs and resellers.
If you want to take the stress out of web filtering, contact our team today and find out how our powerful tools for filtering web content can help your business.
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