Oftentimes, the primary reason for implementing a URL filtering solution is to improve cybersecurity defenses. Organizations now face attacks from all angles online and need to enforce defenses to prevent ransomware, spyware, adware, and other forms of malware from being installed on their devices and networks. The damage caused by these infections can be considerable.
A URL filtering solution can be used to block access to websites known to contain malware and users can be prevented from accessing websites and webpages where the risk of encountering online infections is high. By carefully controlling Internet access, organizations can also greatly reduce the threat of phishing and whaling attacks.
The Commercial Benefits of a URL Filtering Solution
Providing Internet access to staff members is now a necessity. Without Internet access, many employees would not be able to work efficiently. However, Internet access is often abused. Employees can waste an extraordinary amount of time surfing the Internet for personal reasons. Some studies suggest an hour or more is wasted by employees on personal Internet use every day. By controlling access to the Internet with URL filtering solution, employers can increase productivity considerably.
These are the two main reasons for using a URL filtering solution, although there are a number of additional benefits. By preventing the accessing of pornography and illegal file sharing websites, organizations can reduce legal risk, while blocking video and audio streaming websites can reduce bandwidth wastage. Wi-Fi network providers can also gain a valuable insight into customer behavior by monitoring the websites that customers visit while connected to wireless networks.
With these commercial benefits, in addition to the enhancing their online security, it is no surprise that so many organizations are choosing to use a URL filtering solution.
Which URL Content Filter Solution Should I Choose?
When searching for a suitable URL content filter solution for your organization, pay attention to how long it will take to install, configure, and maintain the URL content filter solution. The initial cost may seem reasonable, but add on the hours that will need to be invested in maintaining and updating individual units and the cost can spiral.
Some software solutions are highly complex and required skilled IT staff to configure, whereas others may have a high management overhead. These solutions are neither suitable for large organizations – despite their highly skilled IT staff – nor for small businesses as they are impractical, expensive to run and, when too complicated to configure, fail to achieve the objective of protecting the network.
For many organizations, the ideal URL content filter solution would be one they implement and forget until Internet access policies change. If this sounds ideal for your organization, be sure to look for the following features, as they will ensure that you do not have any management and maintenance headaches:
Supports URIBL and SUBRL filtering – Most URL filters compare requests to visit websites against blacklists of websites known to harbor malware. With URIBL and SUBRL filtering, you also get protection against website constructed with the sole purpose of executing phishing attacks and those that hide their true identity behind the whois privacy feature.
Category-based and keyword-based filtering – Category-based and keyword-based URL filtering allows you to select which categories of website you do not want your users to access. Millions of the world´s most popular websites are sorted into different categories (abortion, adult entertainment, alternative beliefs, alcohol, etc.) that you can block access to with the click of a mouse, and then fine-tune your selections using the keyword filters.
A web-based management portal – If your URL filtering solution has a web-based management portal, this means you can access the portal from any location with an Internet service to manage your filtering parameters, observe web activity in real time and order reports of historic web activity. It is far simpler than managing and updating individual units.
No software downloads – Updating software can be time-consuming, even with a web-based management portal. Cloud-based URL filters require no software updates as the filtering mechanisms operate in the service provider´s data center and therefore are updated by the service provider. This includes blacklists, URIBL/SUBRL filters and category placements.
Imperceptible latency – Your URL content filter solution should not have a negative impact on Internet speed or network performance. Choose a software-based solution with a whitelisting function so that trusted websites can bypass the filtering process and eliminate CPU strain, or a cloud-based solution so that the strain is placed on the service provider´s servers.
Available, competent customer service – If ever you experience any technical difficulties, it is essential that somebody is available to you to resolve your issues promptly. As not all organizations maintain “traditional” working hours, it may be important to you to obtain your URL filtering solution from a provider with an international presence in order that help is always available.
URL Filtering Solution Pricing
The cost of a URL filtering solution can vary considerably from provider to provider. Rather than simply opting for the URL filtering solution market leader, perform a full cost comparison, including installation costs, and maintenance requirements.
If you are looking for the most cost effective URL content filter solution, make sure that you can run the solution on your existing hardware. If your system is not compatible with web filter software, consider using a cloud-based URL filtering solution rather than upgrading your hardware.
URL filtering solution pricing is generally calculated on the number of devices that will require simultaneous access to the Internet. The more devices that need to connect, the greater the cost. If it is difficult to fit a URL content filter solution into your budget, it may be possible to spread the cost over the term of the contract. Some solution providers accept monthly payments rather than demanding the full cost up front. It may also be possible to obtain substantial discounts by paying for software licenses over a longer term – two or three years for example.
Take advantage of free trial periods to evaluate a URL filtering solution before committing to a long contract. That way you can be sure that the solution is right for your organization and is practical to use. Flexible contract terms will also help to keep the cost down. If you need to reduce capacity, it may be possible to obtain refunds on unused portions of licenses with some solution providers.
WebTitan by TitanHQ
TitanHQ offers a range of powerful and highly scalable URL filtering solutions that have been developed to meet the needs of small to medium-sized businesses. Each URL content filter solution in the range is easy to implement and requires no additional hardware purchases.
WebTitan Gateway offers the maximum protection from online threats and the greatest control over the content that can be accessed by users of your network. WebTitan Gateway can be installed on your existing hardware as a virtual appliance, offering considerable savings over hardware-based URL filter solutions and has a whitelisting facility to eliminate CPU strain. WebTitan Gateway can also be run in a virtual environment on most hypervisors, including VMware, Hyper V, and AWS.
For organizations that prefer the convenience of 100% cloud-based URL content filter solution, there is WebTitan Cloud. Installation could not be any easier with WebTitan Cloud. There is no need to download any software as the solution is universally compatible with every operating system. Simply change your DNS settings to point to TitanHQ’s servers and you can be filtering the Internet in two minutes.
WebTitan Cloud for Wi-Fi has been developed to allow Wi-Fi hotspot providers to control the content that can be accessed via Wi-Fi access points. This ensures hotspot users are protected from malware, phishing, ransomware and other Internet threats as well as the network to which they are connected. This highly scalable URL filtering solution can be used to protect single routers or large networks of Wi-Fi hotspots.
WebTitan Services for MSPs
WebTitan provides an unrivalled service for Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Each of our URL filtering solutions supports an unlimited number of domains, with per domain administration and reporting. A low management overhead ensures the Total Cost of Service is kept to a minimum, while our flexible pricing model helps you better manage a fluctuating number of clients.
WebTitan Gateway, WebTitan Cloud and WebTitan Cloud for WiFi are each available in white label format, plus we also offer MSPs the opportunity to join our Alliance Program, through which it is possible to become a Certified Partner, receive One to One Training with Our Sales Engineers and have a Dedicated Alliance Manager assigned to you.
Your Invitation to Try WebTitan for Free
If you would like to try a URL content filter solution for free, do not hesitate to get in touch and speak with one of our Sales Technicians. Our Sales technicians will be happy to answer any questions you have about URL filtering and discuss your requirements with you to determine which would be the most appropriate WebTitan URL filtering solution for your needs.
You will then be invited to take advantage of a free trial of either WebTitan Gateway, WebTitan Cloud or WebTitan Cloud for WiFi to evaluate our URL filtering solution in your own environment. If, at the end of your free trial, you wish to continue using our service, we have a range of competitive pricing options available for organizations of all sizes.
Each of our URL filtering solutions offer:
- Maximum protection against online threats.
- Flexible controls for user and guest web access.
- Compatibility will all operating systems.
- A choice of deployment options.
- White label formats for MSPs.
- Cost effective URL filtering.
What are the business benefits of web filtering solutions?
Business web filtering solutions prevent users from accessing potentially dangerous web pages and IP addresses, such as those hosting malware or phishing kits. A web filtering solution can also be used to block access to inappropriate and offensive web content, prevent cyberslacking to improve productivity, control bandwidth use, and reduce legal risk by preventing illegal online activities.
Is business web URL filtering software expensive?
While there is web URL filtering software available that can be used free of charge by consumers, these products are generally not suitable for business use. The cost of business web filtering solutions can vary considerably from provider to provider, so it pays to conduct research. WebTitan is very competitively priced, with a standard price of $1.58 per user, per month although there are discounts available. Contact the sales team for a quote.
Does URL filtering software block malware downloads?
When websites or web pages are identified as being used for malicious purposes or for hosting illegal content, they are added to blacklists. Blacklists are used by URL filtering software to prevent access to malicious content, such as sites hosting malware. A web filtering solution program such as WebTitan can be configured to block certain file downloads, such as executable files, as these are often used to install malware.
What is SSL inspection?
SSL inspection - sometimes referred to as HTTPS inspection or TLS inspection - is performed by URL filtering software and involves inspecting encrypted connections to websites. The use of SSL/TLS in HTTPS provides security and privacy for users; however, cyber threat actors can use SSL/TLS to hide malicious activity. Without SSL inspection, URL filter software will not give you visibility into HTTPS encrypted communications.
Is it possible to temporarily bypass the content controls of a web filtering solution?
TitanHQ uses cloud keys as a way for administrators to allow content controls to be temporarily bypassed without having to manually change a user’s settings and then change them back again. Cloud keys allow administrator-defined content to be accessed for a set period of time, when it would normally be blocked.