What are the benefits of web filtering for small- and medium-sized businesses?

What are the benefits of web filtering for small- and medium-sized businesses?

Businesses should be wary not just of cybercriminals, but also of the websites employees visit. The solution isn’t to go offline, but to choose the right network security software. If we are able to apply filters to drinking water and selfies, why can’t we have one for the web?

Web filters analyze both the origin and content of a webpage against a set of rules established by the user. They are designed to filter the websites a user can and cannot access, such as pornographic and potentially malware-infected websites.

As of June 2017, there are over 3 billion Internet users worldwide. To regulate internet usage, businesses use the following web filtering systems to keep their networks safe:

  • Client-side filters - these filters are installed onto the user’s device to monitor suspicious online activity and block inappropriate content.
  • Blacklist - a collection of manually entered websites that the administrator finds inappropriate and wishes to block.
  • Whitelist - URLs listed here are the only ones that are accessible, while other websites are off-limits.
  • Keyword filters - this filter restricts access to websites that contain certain keywords or designated content.

Without further ado, here are some reasons why small- and medium-sized businesses should consider web filtering.

Network security

Web filtering helps keep malware -- which are designed to corrupt, delete or even hold business data hostage -- at bay. Since one in every 359 emails carries malware-infected attachments, it is one of the main reasons why businesses are starting to filter web access.

Web filtering also helps organizations comply with industry regulations, thereby reducing liability should a breach occur.

Better implement IT policies

There are two main reasons why IT policies don’t get enforced: lack of awareness among employees and difficulty locating the policies.

Failing to implement user awareness policies means failing to educate your staff on phishing and the dangers of accessing questionable websites. However, with web filtering, the company can have better control over how employees are accessing the web, acting as the first line of defense against cyber attacks.

Prevent data leakage

The moment that company workflows, employee files, upcoming product releases and other mission-critical data get leaked, your company is at risk of reputational damage. In such an event, customers will be compelled to consider service providers that are more capable of ensuring data integrity. Web filtering prevents this from happening by closely monitoring your staff’s online activities and ensuring that they act according to your company’s IT policies.

Increase productivity

According to Websense Inc., workplace Internet misuse costs U.S. businesses $63 billion in lost productivity annually. The study concluded that the most frequently visited websites were for personal banking, social media, e-commerce and even pornography. Incorporating web filtering into your IT policy restricts access to such websites and drastically reduces the amount of wasted time during business hours, which contributes to higher levels of efficiency and productivity.

With the insurmountable number of cyber criminals that target businesses of every size, ensuring impenetrable network defenses has never been more crucial. At Charles IT, we help our customers by first understanding their business needs before identifying the right solutions and implementing them. If you wish to install web filters but aren’t sure where to start, feel free to give us a call!