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Web Filter

Commonly called "content control software", a web filter, is a piece of software that is designed to restrict the number of websites to which a user has access. Its use is common both in homes and businesses.

Web filters tend to function by either whitelisting or blacklisting websites. Whitelisting renders every site inaccessible, with users only having access to the site listed on the whitelist. Blacklisting gives the user access to ordinary web services, only restricting the user’s access to a certain number of undesirable websites.

Web filters can be installed as either browser extensions or independent programs. They can even form part of a business’s overall security solution. Sometimes, web filters can be integrated into the network itself by the internet service provider.

Today, people interact with web filters a lot more often than they think. Even your regular search engine features rudimentary filters that prevent undesirable webpages from coming up in your search results.

This post explores all things web filters. It takes a look at the different types of web filter and their use before explaining their benefits. By the end of it, readers will have gained invaluable insight into web filters and their advantages.

What Are The Benefits Of Web Filters

Today, everything from bank loans to daily groceries can be accessed online. More and more keep being added to the list.

You can’t be too careful when it comes to overseeing the online activities that take place in your home, school or workplace. Thus, a web filter is an invaluable tool for any home or organization.

It ensures that your household, learners or employees use their time online productively to finish their tasks. When used appropriately, a web filter can serve as a company's best defence against illicit activities, hackings, data breaches, and even legal action.

Let’s consider 6 advantages gained from using a web filter.

1. Protect Your Company From Internal Threats

It is not uncommon for disgruntled employees to act in retaliation against their companies. Such retalitions can take place in the form of releasing sensitive information to the outsiders or the public.

Unfortunately, such events prove common and can happen to any organisation at any time.

Should it end up in the wrong hands, internal data can cause huge damages to an organization. A web filter can restrict any unnecessary communications or online activities. This, in turn, greatly minimizes the risk.

It may be surprising to learn that your students or employees can be a threat against your organization's digital security. Yet, they do hold a lot of power and influence.

It’s not all bad intent, though. In many cases, sensitive data gets leaked unintentionally. An oversight can see a competitor being included in an email that contains sensitive company information.

Either way, you can never be overly cautious when it comes to the personal and private data of your home or business.

2. Prevent Unauthorized Activity

Employers gain much from ensuring that work devices are used for completing work-related tasks. In an ideal world, we’d simply trust our employees to be productive. A web-filter takes the guesswork out of everything.

The websites your employees visit can cost you far more than lost productivity hours. Simply clicking an infected on a webpage, can expose your whole business to a range of data security threats.

It’s not only common for some websites to feature inappropriate content, but their ads and brutal pop-ups are often rife with viruses and malware.

Your school or organization could also face legal issues if students or employees are found accessing illegal items on your devices, under your watch. A web filter helps reduce your exposure to such risks.

By putting restrictions on certain keywords, URLs, or web categories, a web filter allows you to set the boundaries on what you deem to be appropriate. Including a web filter into your business’s cyber defences can give you a bolster defence against viruses, data breaches, and even losses in revenue from low productivity times.

Through a web filter, you can prevent losing or sharing company information. You can block your workers from using unsecured cloud storage sites.

It also makes it harder for your organization to form part of unwanted advertising campaigns or enter malicious email platforms. Web filters protect you from errors, attackers, and the ill intentions of your competitors.

While human error is inevitable, the only human error to blame for not protecting your company is choosing not to make use of a web filter.

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3. Increasing Productivity

Improving your connection and access to technology can hugely improve organizational workflows and daily tasks. Yet, it can also expose your learners or employees to even more distractions.

One way to to prevent the ill use of productivity time is through a web filter.

Web filters are proven to improve time management and overall productivity throughout organizations. This is achieved by assessing web histories and determining how your employees or learners spend their time online. Finally, sites that are deemed undesirable are barred from future access.

In fact, openly implementing a web filter helps businesses effectively address the issue of breaching company browsing policies. It communicates a strict stance against unproductive websites and you to interfere before experiencing any major issues.

In an era where time is money, keeping your workforce focused and motivated becomes key to any company’s success. Openly forbidding unnecessary time spent on unproductive webpages creates a culture of constant productive work during business hours.

4. Prevent Security Breaches

Digital security threats are littered across the internet. Among the more vital reasons to install a web filter is to protect yourself against such threats.

Cyber criminals gain access to more confidential information every day. They have grown skilled at luring unsuspecting people to seemingly harmless websites. It is at this point that you discover some kind of malware infecting your systems.

Knowing that events like these are not only possible, but highly probable gives reason for concern. Deciding not to incorporate a web filter would surely be ill-advised.

There is no shortage of people trying to gain access to trade secrets. Others simply want to make a quick buck through online scams. Reports state that the dark web currently teems with personal information. Further, such information is often obtained from data breaches conducted by cyber criminals.

When it comes to online security, the size of your company doesn’t matter. Any information sent or received through the internet can pose a risk. Web filters can give your home or organisation a strong defence against unauthorized use of information.

Simply put, setting restrictions against potentially malicious sites prevents outsiders from infiltrating your organization’s network.

Having a clear way to filter the online actions within your organization also can stop you from unintentionally exposing the company to online threats. Cyber criminals are an opportunistic bunch. All they need is one mistake to gain access to your files.

Slim the chances of hackers infiltrating your business by installing a web filter.

A web filter proves to be more than a blocking tool. It can add stronger defenses against PR scandals, legal retaliations, the loss of business secrets, and the theft of identities. All of this and more is gained when equipped with a powerful web filtering system.

5. Appropriately Schedule Equipment Upgrades

There are often cases in which your work systems may need to be upgraded. This is often done to keep up with the rise of an enterprise. For those who are sceptical about the true benefits asserted by system upgrades, web filters can delay them for you.

This can be done until such a time you feel your business is ready to conduct the upgrade.

Get solid information regarding the performance of the machines you make use of. Web filters let you review very useful metrics. It is these metrics that can then be used  to justify any need for upgraded equipment.

Types of Web Filtering Software

There are two main customer bases for web-filtering software. The first is made up of parents who want to restrict their children from viewing content that they consider inappropriate. The second customer base is made up of businesses looking to prevent their employees from visiting unproductive websites during working hours.

Web filters also act as a great prevention method against malware. They can filter and block access to sites that are reported to commonly host malware. A web filter can also restrict access to sites that push the boundaries of appropriate content. These include websites that are pornographic or those which incite visitors to gamble.

Today’s more advanced web filters are able to restrict information that is shared over the Internet. This goes a long way toward ensuring sensitive data is not released.

These include ways like making use of a Web-based proxy, entering an entity’s foreign-language websites instead, or creating a VPN server. Due to these loopholes, network administrators and concerned parents now seek web filters that do more than simply restrict or permit website access.

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