If you provide employees, students, guest users, or members of the public with access to the Internet, there are a number of good reasons why you may wish to implement an Internet access control solution. By controlling who can access the Internet, when they can access it, and what content they can view, stream or download, you can prevent such issues as:
- Employees engaging in non-work-related activities.
- Students being exposed to harmful online material.
- Illegal activity by guest users (for which you may be liable).
- Members of the public openly viewing inappropriate content such as pornography.
All of the above are valid reasons for implementing an Internet access control solution; however, solutions for controlling Internet access also serve a further, vital purpose. They block users from accessing web pages that are used for phishing or the distribution of malware and ransomware.
The cost of recovering from a malware or ransomware infection can be astronomical. The cost of remediating an attack can force small businesses to permanently close and can seriously damage the credibility of larger organizations. Malware can prevent schools from functioning and harm can be caused to individuals whose data is stolen in these attacks.
Compared to the consequences of a malware or ransomware infection, the cost of implementing solutions for controlling Internet access is minimal. Cloud-based solutions in particular are inexpensive, easy to implement and require next to no maintenance. No software installations are required, the solutions typically self-configure, and Internet access control is managed from a web-based portal with a few clicks of a mouse.
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How Cloud-Based Solutions for Internet Access Control in the Workplace
Cloud-based solutions for controlling Internet access are implemented by changing your DNS server settings to point to a service provider´s DNS servers. This is a quick and easy change that requires no technical skill. Once connected to the Internet access control service, administrators can log into the web-based portal and set filtering parameters as best suits the requirements of the business, school, or organization.
These Internet access control solutions act as the first line of defense against malware and ransomware. This is provided through blacklists of websites known to harbor malware and ransomware, blacklists of IP addresses from which spam email is known to have originated, malicious URL detection software, phishing protection software, and antivirus software.
This first line of defense checks every request to visit a website against the blacklists and security software is used to ensure webpages are safe to visit. Both the blacklists and the software are updated in real-time by the service provider, reducing the maintenance overhead of the Internet access control solution and ensuring both users and networks are protected from the very latest web-based threats.
Setting the Filtering Parameters to Best Suit Your Requirements
Cloud-based Internet access control solutions for restricting Internet access in the workplace have multiple options to meet the requirements of every type of business, school, or organization. It is unlikely that any system administrator will need to use all the options. They exist to provide maximum granularity, to ensure Internet access to important sites is not blocked, and so that no gaps are left in the network´s defenses for cybercriminals to exploit.
The easiest way to control internet access is by using category filters. SpamTitan Cloud has 53 different categories (abortion, adult entertainment, alternative beliefs, alcohol, etc.), into which six billion web pages have been sorted according to the nature of their content. System administrators can control Internet access to any of these categories with the click of a mouse. Click to block the category and any attempt to visit a website that is not permitted will see the user directed to a local block page that explains why the content cannot be viewed.
It is possible to fine-tune the category selections with keyword filters – these present the opportunity to control access to websites with specific words in their content or in downloadable files. It is also possible to control Internet access by individual user, user group, and the time of day, or – if one network user requires access to a specific blocked website – adding the website or a webpage to a whitelist will allow it to be viewed, while other resources covered by the category are still blocked.
|Most Commonly Blocked Website Categories|
|File Sharing Websites||Hate Speech||Violence|
|Online Shopping||Drugs||Hate Speech|
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Setting the filtering parameters to best suit your requirements may sound complicated – especially if you are administering a network for a large organization. However, by integrating an Internet access control solution with directory tools such as LDAP or Active Directory, the process can be accelerated significantly. Smaller organizations should be able to set their initial filtering parameters within minutes.
To demonstrate the ease of use and effectiveness of cloud-based solutions for controlling Internet access, we invite you to take advantage of a free trial of WebTitan Cloud or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi, depending on whether you operate a fixed or wireless network. Both solutions for controlling Internet access are compatible with any operating system, are scalable to tens of thousands of users, and have the versatility to meet the requirements of every type of business, school, or organization.
To find out more about our offer, or to raise any questions about Internet access control, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of helpful Sales Technicians will be happy to answer your questions, will guide you through the process of registering for your free trial, and will be on hand throughout your trial to help you find the optimal filtering parameters to best suit your requirements. If you feel you would benefit from a product demonstration, no problem. Give us a call and that can be easily arranged.
What is a secure guest Wi-Fi network?
A secure guest Wi-Fi network is a network that is virtually separated from your intranet that allows guest users to access the Internet, but not your internal applications, files, folders, and resources. A secure guest Wi-Fi network is also one that blocks threats that could harm guest users’ computers, which means web filtering must be enabled to prevent access to malicious websites.
Can you provide some guest Wi-Fi tips for businesses?
Make sure your access point hardware cannot be accessed by keeping it in a locked cabinet. Ensure the guest Wi-Fi network is totally separated from your internal network. Change the default SSID to make it clear it is your own and set a unique password. Ensure the firmware on your hardware is kept up to date. Encrypt your wireless signals and apply a web filter to control the content that can be accessed.
Are Internet access control solutions expensive?
When you consider the costs that can be incurred from not filtering the internet such as phishing attacks and malware and ransomware infections, the cost of a web filter is cheap by comparison. If cost is an issue, opt for a cloud-based solution as these do not require the purchase of an appliance. Also shop around, as some solutions are expensive. WebTitan, for example, is extremely competitively priced.
Is SSL inspection important?
Around ¾ of all phishing websites now have SSL certificates and many malware variants utilize HTTPS. If you do not enable SSL inspection, this traffic will be invisible. SSL inspection allows you to perform antivirus scans and effectively filter the internet to prevent access to malicious web content.
Can Internet access controls be bypassed?
Yes, but that does not mean you should not control access to the Internet. The most determined and skilled users may find a way to bypass the filter, but it is possible to make this too difficult for most users. Lockdown your DNS settings to prevent users from changing them and block access to anonymizer websites and the use of proxies. Also, monitor Internet use and configure automatic alerts.