Filtering a network to block sites on the Internet has many different purposes. Businesses do it to prevent employees visiting non-productive and non-work related websites; schools and colleges do it to comply with state and federal laws; and providers of publicly-accessible WiFi networks do it to prevent obscene and inappropriate content being viewed by users in sight of others.
Filtering a network to block sites on the Internet also has a common purpose – to prevent users visiting sites harboring malware, and downloading ransomware or falling victim to a phishing scam. Irrespective of the individual motives mentioned above for filtering a network to block sites on the Internet, this motive is the most important – as network Internet filters mitigate the risk from web-borne threats.
How Network Internet Filters Mitigate the Risk from Web-Borne Threats
Network Internet filters are typically cloud-based solutions for filtering a network to block sites on the Internet. Being cloud-based, they required no capital outlay for hardware or complicated software installation. They are universally compatible with all networks and operating systems and all network administrators have to do in order to implement network Internet filters is redirect their DNS server settings towards their filtering service provider´s servers – a process that takes a couple of minutes.
Thereafter, network Internet filters automatically check each request to visit a site on the Internet against blacklists of sites known to harbor malware and ransomware. They also check domain IP addresses for known sources of spam emails – the domain IP addresses likely to be also hosting phishing sites. If a match is found, the request to visit the site on the Internet is declined. The blacklists are updated as new threats are detected, providing real time protection for networks and their users.
Before allowing network users access to requested sites on the Internet, checks are also made by malicious URL detection software, phishing protection software and anti-virus software. When using cloud-based network Internet filters, these checks are performed in the cloud to reduce the strain on CPU resources. This means network performance is not affected by the filtering process and filtered Internet content is delivered to network users with imperceptible latency.
Blocking Sites to Improve Productivity, Compliance and the User Environment
In addition to mitigating the risk from web-borne threats, network Internet filters can be configured to improve productivity, compliance and the user environment. This is done through a selection of category filters, keyword filters and other controls that can be managed via a web-based administrative portal. Each network administrator will have their own motives for filtering a network to block sites on the Internet, so we will provide a brief overview of the most two commonly-used controls.
- Network Internet filters sort more than six billion web pages into fifty-three predetermined categories according to their content. These categories include such topics as “Drugs”, “Gambling” and “Mature Content” that network administrators can block access to with the click of a mouse. It is possible to create bespoke categories if required.
- Keyword filters enable network administrators to block sites on the Internet without blocking a whole category. For example, the “Social Networking” category includes forums and blogs as well as social media sites. Network administrators can block access specific sites within the category by entering (for example) “Facebook” or Twitter” in the keyword filter field.
Category and keyword filters can be applied by individual user, user group or universally throughout the network. They can also be applied by time, by bandwidth or by IP address. Therefore, a company network administrator could allow its marketing department to access Facebook and Twitter while blocking access for other employees, and a school network administrator could apply different Internet filtering parameters to different grades – so that students could access age-appropriate content.
In situations in which a publicly accessible WiFi network is provided, network administrators can control what type of content is viewed in sight of others during the day, and can relax the controls after a watershed. They can also limit bandwidth per user to prevent network bandwidth being exhausted by one or two users and ensure Internet access is available to everyone. The facility to filter a network to block sites on the Internet by IP address is useful for businesses operating a network of WiFi hotspots.
Try Filtering a Network to Block Sites on the Internet for Free
If you are a network administrator for a business, a school or other organization providing a publicly-accessible WiFi network, and you would like to know more about filtering a network to block sites on the Internet, do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of Sales Technicians will answer any questions you have and offer you a free trial of one of our network Internet filters – either WebTitan Cloud for fixed networks or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi for wireless networks.
The trial will enable you to evaluate our network Internet filters in your own environment and find the optimal settings for filtering a network to block sites on the Internet to meet your specific needs. Once the trial is concluded, we offer a competitively priced range of subscription options based on your chosen filter and the number of users it will protect. Contact us today, and you could be filtering your network to block sites on the Internet within twenty minutes – protecting your network and the users who connect to it from malware, ransomware and phishing.