For many businesses, the primary reason for implementing a website filter to block sites at work is online security. When correctly configured, the combination of URIBL/SURBL filters, blacklists, category and keyword filters can successfully prevent many types of malware and ransomware attacks. However, one of the compromises often made in order to protect networks, data and users is Internet speed.
The issue of latency occurs because so many websites are encrypted. The process of decrypting secure websites, inspecting their content to ensure they adhere to user policies, and re-encrypting them places a strain on server resources. This reduces the speed at which users can access the Internet and affects productivity. In the worst scenarios, Internet access may be temporarily unavailable for some time.
It is not just Internet access that is affected. Many other web-based processes including email, access to fileshares and cloud computing can be affected by the issue of latency. Although using a website filter to block sites at work has been shown to have productivity benefits by blocking access to recreational websites, these benefits can be wiped out – and more – by the SSL inspection process.
The Issue of Latency is going to Get Worse
If productivity in your business has not yet been negatively affected by latency, it is just a question of time. After Google announced it would enhance the ranking of websites with SSL Certificates in search engine results pages, many organizations encrypted the content of their websites. More than half the world´s most visited websites are now encrypted, and the number is growing year-on-year.
It is not just the growing number of encrypted websites that will be responsible for a website filter having to work harder in order to block sites at work, it is the strength of the encryption as well. There is currently a movement towards 4096-bit encryption, which will result in longer key exchange times and could result in the SSL inspection process requiring as much as 80% more server resources.
Whitelisting Reduces Server Strain but Increases Risk
One potential solution to overcome the issue of latency is to whitelist every business-critical encrypted website so it bypasses the filtering mechanisms. This reduces the strain on the server, as the website filter does not have so many encrypted websites to inspect; however the whitelisting process substantially increases the workload on system administrators and IT support teams.
There is also the risk that, if a whitelisted website is subsequently compromised by a hacker, any malware or ransomware deployed on the compromised website would bypass the filter. This would likely have more serious consequences that a slow Internet speed, and nullifies the primary reason for implementing a website filter to block sites at work.
Eliminate Latency with a Cloud-Based Website Filter
A more effective solution to overcome the issue of latency is a cloud-based website filter. Cloud-based solutions with SSL inspection conduct the inspection process in the cloud – thus using the resources of the service provider´s servers rather than the business´s. Cloud-based solutions deliver a filtered Internet service to users with imperceptible latency and without negatively affecting productivity.
Cloud-based solutions are equally as effective at preventing malware and ransomware attacks, but they do not have the capital expenses of hardware solutions or the maintenance overheads of software solutions. All that is required to implement a cloud-based website filter is a redirection of the server´s DNS settings, after which the solution is ready to block sites at work immediately.
Block Sites at Work Efficiently with WebTitan Cloud
WebTitan Cloud is an enterprise grade cloud-based website filter that helps businesses block sites at work efficiently. Designed with ease of use as a primary consideration, WebTitan Cloud can be deployed and ready to use in minutes and has the option of integration with Active Directory or LDAP in order to simplify the setting of user policies from existing management rules.
WebTitan Cloud is compatible with all operating systems whether you are using a hardware-based or virtual network. There are no bandwidth restrictions nor limits on the number of users and devices that are connected to your network, and all software, blacklist and category updates are conducted by us in the cloud to minimalize your maintenance overheads.
Our website filter to block sites at work efficiently is managed via a web-based management portal that allows real-time viewing of Internet activity on your network. It also provides the option for administrators to schedule reports by user, category or time in order to help identify trends, fine-tune acceptable use policies and further mitigate online threats.
If WebTitan Cloud seems to deliver the level of protection, control and efficiency you would like to have in your business, speak with us today about a free fourteen day trial so that you can evaluate the merits of WebTitan Cloud in your own environment. Throughout the trial period, you will able to take advantage of our industry-leading Customer and Technical Support teams to maximize the efficiency of WebTitan Cloud to suit your particular requirements. Thereafter, if you decide to continue using our cloud-based website filter to block sites at work, no further configuration will be required.