A web filtering online service is a DNS-based web filter service that is managed via an online portal. By implementing a service for filtering the web “from the cloud”, organizations can reduce risks from malware and ransomware with minimal maintenance overheads, and improve their online security posture.
By using a web filtering online service, organizations and businesses can also benefit from increased productivity in the workplace and protect network users from online threats – potentially increasing sales for retail businesses that provide a WiFi service by providing a safe browsing environment.
Mitigate Risks from Malware with a Web Filtering Online Service
A malware infection can have serious implications for an organization. As a malware infection spreads through an organization´s network, it is capable of corrupting, stealing or encrypting data. The financial cost of resolving a malware infection can be substantial and in some cases too substantial for the organization to remain in business.
An online web filtering service mitigates risks from malware by declining requests from network users to visit websites known to be harboring malware. The web filter service does this by checking an Internet user´s request to visit a particular website against blacklists, category filters and keyword filters, and declining any request that is blocked by the filter´s parameter settings.
The best services for filtering websites also have SSL inspection capabilities that allows them to inspect encrypted websites for risks from malware, and only allow access if no risks exist. This not only increases the level of protection offered to organizations, but eliminates the possibility of a network user downloading an infected file from an apparently safe site.
How Services for Online Filtering Can Increase Productivity in the Workplace
Although several employer organizations have acknowledged that some personal use of the Internet at work can have a positive impact on productivity in the workplace, there are still occasions when employees can take “cyberslacking” to unacceptable levels or when employees create a hostile environment for their colleagues by accessing objectionable online material.
By implementing a web filtering online service, organizations can restrict the time allowed for employees to engage in non-work related online activities and the websites they can access. Most services for online filtering have time-based controls and the flexibility to set parameter settings by individual user, by user-group or by department.
In addition to preventing excessive cyberslacking and increasing productivity, organizations can create a safer workplace environment by blocking access to objectionable online material. This measure eliminates potential HR issues and legal action by employees who may – for example – allege the organization failed to provide a workplace environment free from exposure to sexual or racial harassment, and was thereby responsible for their constructive dismissal due to failure in their duty of care.
How a Web Filter Service Can Potentially Increase Sales
If your organization is in the retail sales industry, you will be aware that many customer decisions on where to shop, eat or congregate are influenced by the provision of free Internet access. Free Internet access can be a magnet for some customers, but the attraction to your business is likely to have a downside if you provide an unprotected service.
If customers – whether Internet users or not – are exposed to objectionable online material being viewed on other customers´ devices, they are unlikely to give you their repeat business. Similarly if an Internet-connected customer downloads a malware infection via your Internet service, he or she is unlikely to return – and likely to spread the word that your Internet service is unprotected.
Both of these potential issues can be avoided with a web filtering online service – which has the additional benefit of generating reports about your customers´ online activities. The content of these reports can be used as marketing tools to target special offers at your existing customers, attract new customers to your business and potentially increase sales.
How a Service for Filtering the Web Controls Bandwidth Wastage
A further benefit of a service for filtering the web is the ability to control bandwidth wastage. Many organizations experience issues with bandwidth availability during periods of high Internet traffic, preventing them from working at maximum capacity as emails go unanswered and as employees are unable to access the Internet or suffer intolerable delays.
Organizations that experience issues with bandwidth availability have the option of subscribing to an Internet filter service with a bigger capacity or finding another way to control bandwidth wastage. A service for filtering the web is a perfect solution to this issue, as it can be used to restrict access to video streaming websites and web applications that use the most bandwidth.
Bandwidth control restrictions do not have to be implemented at all times. As mentioned above, some web filtering services allow time-based controls to be applied. This gives organizations the flexibility to control bandwidth wastage during peak traffic periods and relax access restrictions during quieter periods of Internet activity.
How an Online Filtering Service can Enhance Network Performance
One of the more recent issues associated with online web content filtering is SSL inspection. SSL inspection is the process whereby the content of encrypted websites (those with an https:// prefix) is decrypted, read and re-encrypted to ensure the content is malware-free and complies with the business´s acceptable use policies.
More than half the world´s most visited websites are now encrypted due to SEO practices and privacy guidelines, and inspecting the content of thousands of encrypted pages can place a tremendous strain on CPUs during peak web activity – affecting the speed at which the Internet is delivered to network users and causing network performance issues throughout the rest of the business.
An online filtering service conducts the SSL inspection process in the service provider´s data center – eliminating the strain on network CPUs and enhancing network performance. Network users can access the Internet – and Internet applications such as email – with imperceptible latency, while other network functions are also accelerated.
Evaluating Services for Online Filtering
Evaluating services for online filtering can be a difficult task if you have no previous experience of a web filtering online service. There are many different solutions capable of providing a web filter service – hardware-based solutions typically requiring a capital outlay, while software-based solutions and cloud-based solutions are most often provided on a subscription basis.
The three key areas to consider for a web filtering online service are compatibility, scalability and flexibility – compatibility for obvious reasons, scalability so that the selected web filter service can expand in line with your organization, and flexibility so that the service for filtering the web does not compromise workplace productivity.
Ideally, you should select a web filtering online service that has a three-tier filtering mechanisms capable of supporting blacklists, category filters and keywords filters. Your selected web filter service should be capable of multi-lingual filtering and – for maximum protection against phishing attacks – URIBL and SURBL filtering
Speak with WebTitan about our Web Filtering Online Service
WebTitan Cloud is a DNS-based web filter service that has been designed to be compatible with all systems and networks. There is no hardware to purchase or software to install as our service for filtering the web only requires the redirection of your router´s DNS. As well as being easy to implement, WebTitan Cloud is easy to manage. Our web-based portal has an intuitive interface that requires no special skill set to apply and adjust the filtering parameters.
WebTitan Cloud provides maximum protection for both wired and wireless networks with imperceptible latency, irrespective of the number of Internet users. Indeed, there is no limit to the number of Internet users or Internet-capable devices that can be supported by WebTitan Cloud – making the ideal service for filtering the web for organizations with expansion plans.
Our web filtering online service is also exceptionally versatile. WebTitan Cloud is capable of blocking applications within a website without actually blocking the website itself. This is a bonus for organizations that engage in social media marketing who – for example – need to give their marketing team access to Facebook, but who would rather block access to applications such as Facebook Chat or Facetime.
WebTitan Cloud Features
- A three-tier filtering mechanism with multi-lingual support and SSL inspection.
- Customizable category filters to suit your organization´s specific requirements.
- Automated reports to ensure compliance with acceptable use policies.
- Web-based portal allows management of filter parameters from any location.
- Range of APIs for backend integration with management tools.
- Access keys available for overriding filter parameters as required.
- Services for online filtering available for MSPs and re-sellers in white-label format.
Speak with WebTitan today about our web filtering online service and you will be invited to try WebTitan Cloud free without any commitment to subscribe to our service once your free trial has concluded. We believe that the best way to evaluate services for online filtering is to try them out and make a decision once you have experienced the benefits of a web filter service.
What are the benefits of an online web filtering service over a web filter appliance?
Web filter appliances can be expensive and have bandwidth limitations. As that limit is approached, there can be latency issues, which can slow internet speeds for all users. Appliances need to be patched and have the firmware updated and take up valuable space. An online web filtering service spreads the cost over time, is maintained by the service provider, benefits from the scalability of the cloud, and does not have bandwidth limitations. Online web filter solutions are often the most cost-effective solution for businesses.
Why is SSL inspection necessary?
It is important for security to use a web filtering service with SSL inspection, as otherwise you will have no visibility into encrypted HTTPS communications. SSL inspection ensures you can block traffic to malicious or inappropriate websites that have SSL certificates. This is important, as hackers often hide their malicious activity using encrypted HTTPS traffic.
What is a good web filter service for MSPs?
Many software-as-a-service providers have a program for managed service providers, but the products often lack many of the features MSPs need such as the ability to apply their own branding, host the solution in their own private cloud, pay monthly, and some solution providers do not accommodate constantly fluctuating seat numbers. WebTitan offers all of these features and more, which makes it an ideal web filter service for MSPs.
What are the alternatives to an online web filter?
An online web filter such as WebTitan Cloud is often the most practical choice for businesses and managed service providers. However, it is possible to buy a dedicated web filtering appliance or to use web filtering software, which is supplied as a virtual appliance that can be installed on existing hardware. All three solutions will allow you to carefully control the content that can be accessed and block web-based threats.
How can I find out which web filtering option is best for my business?
Businesses have different needs and what is right for one may not be ideal for another. To find out which web filtering solution is best for your business, give the TitanHQ sales team a call. Our experienced and friendly sales staff will ask some questions about your business and will recommend a solution that will best meet the needs of your business.