A web filter, sometimes referred to as “content control” is a type of software that allows users to block questionable materials from being viewed online. The program ostensibly reviews web pages users are trying to visit to determine if they are safe and/or meet parameters for usage. If not, the software may block access or in some cases, deliver a warning page that lets users know the content could be dangerous while still allowing for viewing if a user so chooses. Utilizing this type of software in a business setting is beneficial in a number of ways. Here are a few important reasons every business should consider adding web filter software or services from a reputable IT services provider.
To start, appropriate web filtering could help to cut back on employee web surfing during business hours. When employees have unlimited internet access via your network, they’re likely to spend at least a portion of the day engaged in personal activities like reading news feeds, shopping online, checking social media accounts, or playing online games. They could even be engaging in more offensive online behavior, as well. You may not be able to completely stop this activity, but you can limit it when you implement web filtering services.
Some types of software not only allow you to block sites, but also to track access and requests for access, so you’ll have an idea of the people within your organization that are attempting to view questionable content while at work. This means you can start by blocking sites that are likely to contain viruses, spyware, and unacceptable content such as pornography or objectionable advertising. From there, your managed service provider can monitor usage and report back on behavior that could put your company at risk. This, in turn, will give you the information you need to carry out the appropriate training to teach employees what to avoid when it comes to potentially harmful content, as well as take action against any employees that engage in risky behavior such as clicking on SPAM or persistently visiting objectionable sites.
What do you stand to gain from the use of web filtering solutions? Your IT support firm can spell out many advantages, but most of them are fairly obvious. When you put a stop to web surfing during business hours by removing the ability to visit all but approved websites, you’re bound to increase productivity. At the very least, you won’t be paying employees for time spent on personal browsing, and you can identify users that are slowing network usage for everyone by streaming video or engaging in other activities that monopolize bandwidth. This is especially effective when employees are aware that you’re monitoring their online activities.
Don’t forget, you could also be held liable for activities your employees engage in using your network. If your staffers are illegally downloading copyrighted content (i.e. pirating) using your system, your company could be held liable. With proper monitoring, you should be able to put a stop to such practices so that your business remains in compliance with applicable laws.
More importantly, however, you’ll significantly reduce the potential for viruses, malicious spyware, and hackers to gain access to your devices and your network when you contract with a IT support provider that offers web filtering services. With software that identifies questionable content and a monitoring service that tracks user activity, you should be able to end instances of dangerous online interactions that could result in damage to your devices, your network, and your business as a whole.
Even if you have access to a skilled on-demand tech support provider, you don’t want to push your luck by allowing employees to access to sites that feature questionable content. The result could be viruses, spyware, malware, worms, hackers, or worse gaining entry to your system and wreaking havoc by corrupting or stealing files. This could not only harm your reputation and cost you clients – it could also result in lawsuits for failure to properly protect sensitive data.
The long and short of it is that as a responsible business owner, the burden of security for your digital network and devices lies squarely on your shoulders. Failure to properly protect your interests could lead to endless problems. While you should certainly train your employees to exhibit appropriate behavior when utilizing your network, it’s in your best interest to take the necessary steps to limit potential breaches and the damage that could result by using a web filter.