Whether you have a single WiFi router or you operate a nationwide network of WiFi hotspots, it is advisable to use WiFi filtering software to control Internet access by your employees, guests and customers. There are also commercial reasons why it can be beneficial to implement WiFi filtering software.
What is Filtering Software?
Filtering software comprises of a series of mechanisms intended to control access to certain parts of the Internet. Depending on your organization´s motives for implementing a web filter, filtering software can prevent end-users from visiting websites that contain malware or inappropriate content, or on which they could engage in illegal activities.
Filtering software typically has three “control layers”:
- “URIBL” and “SURBL” filters compare each request to visit a website against a list of websites known to harbor malware. If the requested website appears on the list, the request is denied.
- Category filters sort the 3 billion+ web pages on the Internet into categories. Network administrators can then choose which categories to restrict access to.
- Keyword filters provide the opportunity to fine-tune the filtering software to block access to specific types of web pages when blocking an entire category would be impractical.
Filtering software is flexible inasmuch as it has a high degree of granularity. It allows for certain parameters to be overridden at administrator level if a website of importance to the organization is blocked by an over-zealous category filter. “Safe” websites can also be added to an “always allow” list to allow access on request.
Why is it Important to Control Internet Access?
By controlling Internet access, you are protecting your network and the mobile devices that connect to it. The implementation of filtering software makes it much less likely that devices will be infected by a virus or have malicious adware, spyware or ransomware downloaded and installed.
WiFi filter software also blocks access to phishing websites, websites that do not conform to standard security protocols and websites that hide their true identity behind a proxy server. This eliminates the risk of your customers divulging their personal credentials to a scammer and falling victim to a phishing attack.
In addition to enhancing your online security and that of your customers, you can configure WiFi filter software to restrict access to inappropriate content. By eliminating access to objectionable material such as pornography, racial intolerance and religious hatred, your organization creates a family-friendly environment that all your customers can enjoy.
You can also eliminate the risk of prosecution for facilitating illegal downloads – or any other illegal online activity – by controlling Internet access. Providers of free WiFi can be charged with aiding copyright infringement if it can be proved you knew copyrighted material was being illegally downloaded on your wireless network, but you failed to do anything about it.
The Commercial Benefits of WiFi Filter Software
It is not difficult to control Internet access with WiFi filter software. The mechanisms within the software used to filter the Internet include category filters. You simply choose what categories you want blocked, and access to websites within these categories is prevented. You can also use keyword filters to fine-tune your filter settings.
The commercial benefits of WiFi filter software are that your organization is providing a safe service not provided elsewhere. When families visit hotels, restaurants, shopping malls or any other venue with a free WiFi service, they want to know it is safe and that their children will not be exposed to inappropriate content.
Research has shown that some families will avoid locations that provide unsecure public WiFi – even if they have no intention of using the service themselves. Their concerns are that venues providing uncontrolled access to the Internet could result in minors accidentally being exposed to age inappropriate content such as pornography.
One final commercial benefit of WiFi filter software is the ability to restrict bandwidth by device. If you provide a filtered service, but one or two customers exhaust your bandwidth by – for example – visiting video streaming sites, you can restrict access to these sites to ensure everybody has filtered Internet access at all times.
Network Filtering Software
When you implement filtering software across an entire network, it is important that you implement a solution that has the versatility to meet your organization´s requirements. For example, if you have a WiFi network in the workplace, you may want to block access to Facebook for the majority of your employees, but not your Marketing Department.
Network filtering software enables you to assign different Internet access levels by individual, group, department or universally. It is even possible to block access to specific web applications so that – for example – your Marketing Department has access to Facebook, but cannot use the Facebook Chat application.
The argument exists it is beneficial for employees to have a little personal online time each day. If your organization subscribes to this argument, time-based controls allow you to set windows (coffee breaks, lunch breaks, before/after hours, etc.) during which the filtering restrictions are relaxed.
There are many different scenarios in which versatile network filtering software can be applied:
- Retail organizations can apply different filtering parameters for their staff and customers.
- Schools can allow teachers and parents a different level of Internet access than provided for students.
- Medical Centers may want to implement different access controls for medical professionals, auxiliary staff, patients and visitors.
What is the Best WiFi Filter Software to Use?
Most organizations looking to secure their wireless network with WiFi filtering software want a low cost option that is quick and easy to implement and requires little effort to manage.
It would not be practical to require all users of your network to download WiFi filtering software to their devices before they could gain access to the Internet. The best and easiest solution is therefore WiFi filter software that works at the DNS layer.
With DNS-based WiFi filter software, all you need to do to filter the Internet is point your DNS to your service provider’s servers. The WiFi filtering software is located on your provider’s servers and can be accessed via a web-based administration portal. Simply log into your administration panel and you can select the categories of website content that you want to block.
Any individual who connects to your network will be prevented from viewing any content you have blocked. Instead, if they try to access a website or webpage containing restricted content, their browser will display a block screen telling them that they are unable to view the content as it contravenes the acceptable usage policies that have been applied via the WiFi filtering software.
Protect Your WiFi Network with WebTitan Cloud for WiFi
WebTitan Cloud for WiFi makes Internet access control a quick and easy process, regardless of the number of users or WiFi hotspots you operate. WebTitan Cloud for WiFi requires no software installations or hardware purchases, only a simple change to point your DNS to our servers.
Once you have made the change to your DNS – which will take a couple of minutes – you can apply your content controls in around 15 to 20 minutes. With WebTitan Cloud for WiFi, restricting access to inappropriate Internet content and protecting customers from online threats could not be any easier.
Our multi-tenanted platform allows Internet access to be easily controlled across any number of WiFi hotspots. Accounts can be created for each location to allow different policy controls to be applied per location. This makes the solution ideal for MSPs who want to offer web filtering as-a-service to their clients. WebTitan Cloud for WiFi can also be supplied as a white label product, allowing MSPs to brand the product as their own.
Summary of Features of WebTitan Cloud for WiFi
- 100% cloud-based
- No software downloads necessary
- No need to purchase any additional hardware
- Control web filtering settings from multiple routers via a single web-based administration control panel
- Protect customers from phishing websites, malware, and other Internet threats
- Supports dynamic and static IP addresses
- No restriction on devices, bandwidth, or number of hotspots
- Our WiFi filter software has virtually no latency
- Highly granular controls allow extensive control over Internet content
- Includes a full suite of pre-configured reports, allows reports to be scheduled and instant alerts are sent via email
- Includes a full suite of on-demand and schedulable reports
- Can be supplied as a white label with a range of hosting options
- Includes a host of APIs to integrate the solution with auto-provisioning and billing systems
- Allows the creation of policy exceptions via cloud keys
Try Our WiFi Filter Software Free for Thirty Days
If your organization would like to take control of the online activities conducted over your WiFi network, enforce acceptable use policies and provide a safer browsing experience for all your users, we invite you to try our WiFi software filter free for thirty days. Our thirty day trial will give you the opportunity to evaluate WebTitan Cloud for WiFi and witness the benefits of implementing WiFi filtering software.
Our trial offer has no strings attached. There are no set up costs, no credit cards required, no contracts to sign, and no obligation to continue with our service after thirty days. For further information about our cloud-based WiFi filtering software, details of pricing, and to sign up for a free trial, contact our sales team today.