The unprecedented and sustained rise in remote working since the onset of the pandemic has brought security of IT infrastructure to the limelight. There has been an exponential rise in the quantity and capabilities of web-based threats as was seen in the recent HAFNIUM zero-day cyberattacks and the Solorigate hacks. While many of these breaches are complex, web filtering continues to be the first line of defense against malicious attacks, downloads of malware, spyware, or risky content. It helps organizations block access to malicious, hacked, or inappropriate websites. In this article, let us explore some methods to implement web filtering.
Why Should Businesses Use Web Filtering Solutions?
Businesses use web filtering solutions to supervise their employees’ web access and limiting it to certain websites based on their content to increase workplace productivity and protect network security. Here are some of the benefits of implementing web filtering for businesses.
- Improving productivity by blocking access to social media, entertainment sites, and inappropriate content, and ensuring that employees remain on work-related websites.
- Web-filtering is a quick and efficient solution to prevent trojans, spyware, malicious software, and other exploit kits from reaching company networks.
- Web filtering can help in monitoring webmail services, scan email content, and block suspicious links.
- By blocking certain streaming websites, organizations not only increase employee productivity but also free up bandwidth.
- It can prevent damages to the company’s reputation by preventing employees from downloading copyrighted content or accessing inappropriate websites.
How Does Web Content Filtering Work?
Web content filtering solutions typically use a combination of blacklists (uniform resource identifiers blacklist and spam URI blacklists), category, and keyword filters to protect users and networks. Blacklists, URIBL, and SURBL filters prevent users from visiting sites that have been identified as phishing sites, known to have malware, or hide their true identities. Category filters allow admins to block sites belonging to specific categories, such as online shopping, alcohol, pornography, gambling, and so on, by analyzing content and classifying them into appropriate categories. Many web content filtering solutions can also block sites with specific keywords (such as the name of competitors), specific file extensions, and web applications.
What Are the Deployment Options for Web Content Filtering Solutions?
There are three ways of deploying web content filters.
Hardware-Based Web Content Filters
When web-content filtering solutions were first made commercially available, they were hardware-based physical appliances. These had to be configured and updated individually and became cumbersome for larger organizations and businesses due to the capital expense and high maintenance overheads.
Software-Based Web Content Filtering Solutions
Software-based “virtual” appliances for web filtering are solutions that are typically installed behind firewalls to protect larger networks. These are versatile and can often integrate with other management tools for better usability. However, in addition to the configuration process involved to protect enterprise workloads, software-based solutions add to the CPU load especially during the SSL inspection and other such processes.
Cloud-Based Web Content Filtering Solutions
Cloud-based web content filtering solutions are typically more versatile, advanced, and affordable than software-based web content filtering appliances. These are available as software as a service (SaaS) solutions and do not require capital investments. Additionally, they do not impact CPU usage as most of the operations happen in the cloud on the service provider’s servers. Additionally, they do not require manual software updates for patching.
Apps4Rent Can Implement Web Filtering on Virtual Desktops
As businesses increasingly opt for virtual desktops to empower their remote employees, protecting organization assets has become a top priority. As a Tier 1 Microsoft CSP and Citrix Partner, Apps4Rent can provision virtual desktops with cutting-edge web filtering technology to protect cloud workloads in our top tier SSAE-16 level datacenters and Azure. Our cloud security specialists, available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email can also help you with appropriate Microsoft 365 plans with Microsoft Defender ATP for web content filtering and other advanced capabilities.