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What is Content Filtering

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What is Content Filtering

Content filtering is a technique that screens and blocks sites that may not be ideal for a particular audience on the internet. It is worth pointing out that the internet is an information superhighway. It hosts truthful, malicious, and even false and inappropriate information or content.

Without a good content filtering strategy or tool, you may end up being vulnerable to cyber attacks and other inappropriate content that may ruin your business or reputation. Content filtering tools often work alongside the firewall of a system.

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The Benefits Of Content Filtering

Understanding the benefits of content filtering is key to appreciating why it is essential to any firewall or online security system.

Guards against malware and other cyberattacks

Malware is a term that is the short form term that refers to malicious software. Malware can be used to achieve various objectives, one of the most common being the stealing of information.

If your online security system does not have a good firewall, hackers may send malware to it and obtain sensitive information. Such information may include passwords and bank details.

There is also the issue of competitors or malicious people using malware to destroy your systems. In that way, they get ahead of you to win customers or ruin your reputation. A good content filtering strategy and tool helps guard against such vicious attacks that may lead to unbearable losses.

Increases overall staff productivity

Almost all your staff have access to the internet while at work. In most cases, they are using an internet plan that the company itself provides. However, there are literally hundreds of things on the internet that may end up distracting your employees from what they should be doing.

Social media is one of the most exciting places to be, and a lot of employees find themselves browsing through such sites. There is also the issue of employees spending too much time playing online games, gambling or watching some form of entertainment while ignoring the tasks they should be completing.

By incorporating a content filter into your company’s network, you’ll be able to take charge of what everyone can do while online. You can filter out those sites that constantly distract your employees and instead allow them to be more focused on what they should be doing. At the end of the day, you’ll realize that your company is achieving bigger goals sooner than you might have expected.

Protects from inappropriate content

Whether you are using the internet at home or in a company setup, ensuring that your network is free of inappropriate content is essential. This is especially relevant when minors connect to the internet and access various pages.

You can never know what those little ones are up to, which is why you must control what they can see. A content filter screens and blocks out anything that would be inappropriate for a minor to watch or read.

It is equally important to know that inappropriate content does not only affect minors. For example, if you offer professional services or sell products, everyone you interact with must view you as a professional. If they happen to connect to your network and get bombarded by inappropriate videos, photos, or texts, your reputation may be compromised.

A content filter does an excellent job in keeping your network free of anything that can compromise your reputation.

Minimizes company liability

An organization is obligated to operate in accordance with the law in all aspects. If therefore, any of the company’s employees post something offensive or inappropriate on public social media or any other website, the company is likely to be held liable. This can lead to dire consequences, including incurring fines or getting suspended from operations altogether.

An organization that has a content filter running in the background is more likely to detect inappropriate or offensive content before it goes out into the public domain. That can significantly minimize the number of offenses committed by a company’s staff, either knowingly or unknowingly.

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Other benefits of having a content filter

Another benefit of incorporating a content filter into your system is that it can help boost bandwidth efficiency. Since the filter is blocking select pages, traffic is minimized, allowing those who are using the internet for the right reasons to enjoy higher speeds. Keep in mind that some pages contain malware that may also slow down your network.

It is equally important to note that content filters can help you save money. That is applicable if your internet provider charges according to the amount of data you use. By filtering out websites or pages that consume too much data, you’ll be able to save some cash.

What are the most common content filtering channels?

The following are some of the most common content filtering channels available to organizations and individuals.

Email - as more and more people go online to carry out various tasks, Emails are becoming even more popular as the primary mode of communication. A lot of organizations are investing in making their Email channels more effective. However, malicious people are also taking advantage of this development to send spam and other inappropriate content. That is why putting up a content filter for your Emails is vital.

Web - a lot of organizations rely on websites and other online resources to carry out their marketing and even store information in the cloud. Without proper security for these websites, such organizations may end up suffering a lot of damage. Having a content filter for live pages is key to forestalling any unfortunate outcomes.

Program files - There are literally millions of files on the internet, and anyone can pull them and install them on a local device. Some of the files may appear to be harmless but are viruses that are masked to deceive. Employees may unknowingly download such files and end up compromising an entire organization’s network system. Content filters for program files guard against any adverse outcomes.

Understanding the types of content filtration available

The following are the main types of content filtration options available.

1. Server-side filtration

Server-side filtration is designed in such a way that they manage internet traffic for everyone on a network. An administrator usually installs the content filter on a single server that connects to all devices on a network. This ensures that everyone is safe from websites that may be harmful. This type of content filter is recommended for large organizations.

2. Client-side filtration

Client-side filters are usually installed on the end user’s system. An interesting thing about this type of content filter is that the end-user does not have any control over it. Instead, an administrator sets the passwords and preferences for the filter. This ensures that the administrator can control what the end-user is utilizing the network for. This type of filter is ideal for home users and specific businesses that want to restrict employee activity online

3. ISP-level filtration

This is a filtration strategy that is implemented on a large-scale level. An internet service provider often undertakes it on behalf of the government or organization. In such a case, the restrictions affect every user on the network.

4. Search engine filtration

This type of filtration enables an organization to control user activities remotely. For example, once an employee logs into the organization’s workspace, the administrator can control what the employee is able to see even though they are not in the same location.

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