Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots has many valuable applications. It can be used to mitigate the risk from web-borne threats, create a family-friendly browsing experience and ensure that the Internet is available to all customers at all times.
These applications alone could be regarded as a commercially-viable reason for implementing Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots. Effective marketing of a filtered WiFi service should draw customers away from a competitor who provides an unsecure or unsafe service.
However, there is a more compelling commercial reason to implement Internet content filtering for WiFi – the reports generated by the Internet content filter that reveal the nature of your customers´ web-browsing habits and online activities.
These reports are not invasive. They do not disclose that Mr. A was illegally betting on sports or that Mrs. B was maxing out her credit card at an online shopping portal. What they do reveal is the type of online activity that your customers engage in – information that can be used to tailor future marketing efforts and develop user-friendly services.
How Internet Content Filtering for WiFi Hotspots Works
When you implement Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots, different mechanisms exist to protect your computer network and the devices of customers who connect to it wirelessly. The first mechanism – indeed the primary line of defense against web-borne threats – consists of blacklists, URIBL filters and SUBRL filters. These should always be supplied by your service provider.
- Blacklists contain lists of websites known to harbor malware, bugs, infections, adware, ransomware, and practically every other type of malicious software that could exploit vulnerabilities in a computer systems to commit fraud or theft.
- URIBL and SUBRL filters contain lists of IP address from which spam email is known to have originated – often an indicator of a phishing website – and websites who hide their true identity behind a proxy server or behind the whois privacy feature.
When a network user types in a URL or clicks on a link to a website, the Internet content filter checks the request to visit the website against the blacklists, URIBL and SUBRL filters. If a match is found, the network user´s request is denied.
All requests to visit encrypted websites also undergo a process known as SSL inspection. This process decrypts, reads and re-encrypts encrypted websites (those starting with an https:// prefix) to ensure they does not contain any malware or ransomware, and also to ensure their content complies with any measures you have introduced to create a family-friendly browsing experience.
Creating a Family-Friendly Browsing Experience
Some difficult issues can arise when you provide a free public WiFi service. Some Internet users prefer to browse the Internet from the anonymity of a public WiFi service so they do not have to disclose their private IP address. Minors, who have Internet filters at home, also take advantage of unfiltered Internet services to watch content their parents would not approve of.
Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots allows you to control access to websites that may contain offensive or illegal material. By using category filters you can simply block access to websites containing pornography, racial hatred or child abuse – or any other category of website that you feel is inappropriate for your business.
Most customers do not want to walk into a business and be exposed to pornography, racial hatred or child abuse. This issue was acknowledged by two of the largest free WiFi service providers in the country – McDonalds and Starbucks – when they announced in 2016 they were implementing Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots throughout their restaurants and coffee shops.
Not only does the implementation of Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots create a family-friendly browsing experience at McDonalds and Starbucks; but, due to the positive publicity the two corporations received, they are now attracting custom from their closest industry rivals who have failed to show their customers that they care.
Ensure the Internet is Available to All Customers at All Times
Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots cannot prevent signal outages from your ISP, but what it can do is restrict the bandwidth being used by your customers. At times of high bandwidth use, Internet access is likely to get slower – meaning that some customers will be unable to access their emails or stay connected with their family, friends and offices.
During times of peak Internet traffic, it is possible to apply limits to how much bandwidth each device can use. Consequently if one or two customers are preventing other customers from accessing the Internet due to live-streaming videos or downloading large files, their bandwidth use can be restricted in order to ensure the Internet is available to all customers at all times.
Bandwidth can also be consumed in large quantities if a customer has a malware infection on their device. By advising the customer that their device is using up more bandwidth than might be considered usual, the customer can take the appropriate actions to clear the malware from their Smartphone, tablet or laptop. A smart customer service move by any business.
Using Reports as Marketing Tools
In a retail environment, using the reports generated by Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots can help you gain an advantage over your competitors. The reports were initially developed to show the effectiveness of the Internet content filter, the threats they had encountered and the actions that had been taken. However, over time the reports have evolved.
Now it is possible to monitor the category of website that customers have visited or – with keyword categories applied – the nature of the business within that category. This level of information is better than any inbound marketing strategist could provide, and will help your company create tailored promotions directed at your existing customers and their family, friends and colleagues.
Even if your organization is not in a retail environment, the reports generated by Internet content filters can help to enforce acceptable use policies. The reports reveal when an Internet user has attempted to circumnavigate the filter´s parameters with a VPN or anonymizer site, and when attempts have been made to access web content contrary to your organization´s policies.
Introducing WebTitan Cloud for WiFi
WebTitan Cloud for WiFi was developed as a powerful but practical web filtering solution for providers of public WiFi services. It is straightforward to deploy, easy to manage, and does not require customers to download software onto their devices in order to access the Internet.
WebTitan Cloud for WiFi supports all mobile devices – laptops, notebooks, mobile phones and tablets – with no limit to the number of hotspots that can be managed, no limit on the geographical location(s) of the hotspots, and no limit on the number of users that can be connected to the WiFi service at the same time.
WebTitan Cloud for WiFi offers highly granular controls to allow service providers to carefully control content and apply unique web filtering settings to dictate the content that can be accessed by customers. Controls can be set by URL, website category, keyword, keyword score, or file type.
Setting and adjusting the filtering parameters on our Internet content filter could not be easier. A simple web-based control panel allows you to manage the filter settings from any location. You can also extract a wide range of reporting options from multiple locations through the same intuitive interface.
Speak with WebTitan about Internet Content Filtering for WiFi Hotspots
Irrespective of the nature of your business, if you provide a public WiFi service you should speak with WebTitan about Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots. Our Internet content filter keeps your premises secure from online threats, enables the creation of a family-friendly browsing environment and can help to grow your business.
If you have any questions about Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots – or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi – please do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced and friendly sales technicians will be happy to guide you through the benefits of Internet content filtering for WiFi hotspots and, if you are tempted to give our product a try, will offer you a free trial of WiFi Internet filtering.