Many businesses consider business content filtering to be an essential component of a comprehensive online security strategy – and rightly so. Business content filtering can prevent network users visiting websites infected with malware, websites harboring ransomware downloads and websites constructed with the sole purpose of executing a phishing attack.
However, in addition to maximizing a business´s online security profile, business content filtering offers many other benefits. It can prevent employees engaging in non-work related online activities, prevent the exposure of inappropriate online material, assist with compliance in regulated industries and have commercial benefits for retail businesses that provide a publicly-accessible WiFi service.
For the benefits to be realized, a content filtering solution for business has to have granular controls and be simple to administer. A lack of granularity – or complicated administration – could result in access to business-critical web services being denied or gateways being left ajar for the deployment of malware and ransomware, and the successful execution of phishing attacks.
How Business Content Filtering Works
Business content filtering has two objectives – to prevent network users visiting unsafe websites and to enforce Internet user policies. The first objective is achieved by each request to visit a website being checked against blacklists of known unsafe websites. The blacklists and supporting mechanisms are updated in real time by the provider of the content filter.
The second objective is achieved with the use of various tools. These tools can be applied to prevent network users visiting websites within certain categories (gambling, pornography, racial intolerance, etc.) or visiting websites containing certain keywords. The more category filters available, the higher the level of granularity. Plus, with keyword filtering, it should be possible to prevent access to certain types of online material without blocking access to the whole category of website into which its falls.
Not all businesses want to apply every the same category and keyword filters universally. For example, a business may want to allow its marketing department to access social media portals while preventing other employees from visiting Facebook and Twitter. Therefore it should also be possible to apply Internet user policies by user and user group, as well as by time, bandwidth and – for businesses located in multiple geographical areas – by IP address.
The Financial Benefits of Business Content Filtering
There have been various reports on the cost to business of recovering from a malware attack. Possibly the most reliable – Kaspersky Lab´s “Cost of Security Breaches” Report – calculated the average cost for enterprises in the U.S. was $551,000. Some of the factors included in the calculations were the loss of access to business-critical information and the temporary inability to trade, additional retrospective employee training costs, and damage to the business´s reputation.
As much as the avoidance of these costs could be seen as a financial benefit of business content filtering, other financial benefits exists that are not dependent of the actions of cybercriminals. For example, it has been calculated that a business with two hundred employees will lose $7 million a year in lost productivity if each employee spends one hour each day engaging in non-work related online activities. Business content filtering can prevent this loss too.
The reports that can be pulled from a content filtering solution for business can be used to conduct risk assessments in order to comply with security rules in regulated industries, and also be used to provide an insight into network users´ browsing habits. This information can be particularly valuable to retail businesses that provide a publicly-accessible WiFi service, as it allows them to tailor their marketing activities towards their customers´ interests.
Business Content Filtering Solutions from TitanHQ
TitanHQ has been developing effective online security solutions since 1999. We appreciate there is “no-one-size-fits-all” solution to online security, and consequently every solution we develop features a high degree of granularity. We also appreciate a high degree of granularity can be ineffective if the mechanisms are too complicated to understand; so we ensure all our products are user-friendly with no special technical or IT skills required.
TitanHQ´s business content filtering solutions typify our approach to online security. A robust first line of defense protects networks against web-borne threats such as malware, ransomware and phishing. We provide maximum granularity with fifty-three category filters into which more than six billion web pages are sorted, and which system administrators can block access to with the click of a mouse via our centralized, web-based management portal.
We even supply APIs to integrate our business content filtering solutions with management tools such as LDAP and Active Directory for accelerated policy application, and provide a choice of deployment options to suit businesses of all sizes – and Managed Service Providers who supply an Internet service to SMBs (who – according to the Kaspersky Lab report – spend an average of $38,000 recovering from a malware infection). The choice of deployment options are:
- WebTitan Gateway – a software-based virtual appliance that is installed as software behind a business network´s firewall.
- WebTitan Cloud – a DNS-based content filtering solution for business that is universally compatible with all operating systems.
- WebTitan Cloud for WiFi – a cloud-based option for protecting individual routers, networks of WiFi hotspots and networks supporting a BYOD policy.
Try a WebTitan Content Filtering Solution for Business
If, to date, you have viewed business content filtering as an essential component of a comprehensive online security strategy, and not as a financial opportunity, you are invited to contact us and find out more about the financial benefits of business content filtering. Our team of Sales Technicians will be happy to discuss your current online security profile and make recommendations if necessary about how it can be improved.
Our team will also invite you to take a free trial of the most suitable WebTitan content filtering solution for business for your network (WebTitan Gateway, WebTitan Cloud or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi). Our trial gives you the opportunity to evaluate our business content filtering solutions in your own environment and find the optimum settings for your particular circumstances to protect networks from malware, ransomware and phishing while helping enforce Internet user policies.
Will an Internet filter for business block malicious file downloads?
Business Internet filtering has two main purposes: Preventing employees from accessing inappropriate web content to reduce legal risk and improve productivity, and to prevent employees from accessing malicious website content. WebTitan blocks access to websites known to harbor malware, and the solution can be configured to prevent employees from downloading files commonly associated with malware – executable files for example.
What is the best type of business content filter?
When it comes to web filtering for business, a DNS-based business content filter is the best choice. DNS filtering works at the DNS lookup stage of a web request before any content is downloaded. The main advantages are better security and no latency. The latter can be an issue with web filtering appliances.
Is content filtering software for business better than cloud-based filtering?
Many businesses are now opting for cloud-based content filtering as it offers several advantages. The cost of ownership is lower, maintenance is easier, there is greater redundancy, and cloud-based solutions are better for supporting a mobile workforce.
Is it possible to apply corporate web filtering controls for different user groups?
Most corporate content filtering solutions allow businesses to apply rules at the organization, department, location, user group, and individual level. Solutions that integrate with directory services such as Active Directory and LDAP are recommended because they make it much easier to apply policies for different categories of user.
How much is business content filtering likely to cost?
The cost of business content filtering will depend on the number of users, the length of the contract, and any add-on services you may require. The costs of business content filtering vary considerably from provider to provider, so it pays to do some research. As a guide, WebTitan is likely to cost you around $1 per user, per month and is one of the most cost-effective and powerful content filtering solutions for business.