A Web Filter is a software developed to screen incoming web pages to analyze and determine what has to displayed to the user. Organizations have a set of rules to filter out the web pages based on the defined rules. A web filter entitles the user to block web pages that has unnecessary content like pornographic content, annoying advertisements, and other objectionable content. Web filters would help in increasing productivity while it mitigates unwanted internet surfing among the employees.
There are different types of Web filters, however choosing the right one that meets the business requirements is important to simplify day-to-day operation, Following are the types of Web Filters
Browser-based filters – Browser-based web filters are generally applications, extensions or even add-ons that can be used with a specific web browser. However there is a disadvantage with browser-based filters, this is because when users switch between browsers, the filter used on the previous browser will not be applicable and is rendered useless with the current browser.
Search engine filters – This works to filter out unnecessary contents when the user tries to fetch information through a search engine. Most of the search engines have set this feature as default to sieve out unwanted contents and there is no requirement of administrative privileges to turn off the safe search filter. The search engine filters have disadvantages as well, when the user knows the URL, he or she types it in the address bar and might end up entering a website which is infected with malware.
Client-side filters - These are filters that are installed and configured on the users’ device Client-side filters are filtering programs installed on the device an employee or student users. CTypes of Web Filters 3ontent-limited ISPs Content-limited ISPs are Internet Service Providers who terminate certain websites from users who subscribed to the ISP Service.
Network-based filters - This type of Network-based filters is deployed on transport or application layers of a network. They act as a middleman between the incoming and outgoing data. This is also deployed to secure the IP addresses of each system connected over the network.
Reference URL: http://education.qld.gov.au/smartclassrooms/enterprise-platform/web-filtering/how-does-it-work.html (need better reference)
Web Content filtering software is implemented to screen and prevent access to unwanted emails and webpages. Content filtering is deployed by organizations as a part of Internet Firewall devices to restrict children from accessing specific unwanted content.
The key to deploying content filtering software is to enhance security posture. It mitigates the opportunities for malware to get installed by terminating user access to unsafe websites, and also it prevents ransomware, adware and other malware from being downloaded. Therefore with the levels of cyber threats increasing day after day, website content filtering software is vital and cannot be avoided. It also helps to increase the levels of productivity. Employers can enforce strict controls to implement restricted Internet access to the employees to mitigate unproductive time. Website content filtering software can implement the use of Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs)and limit access to websites that have content that may cause offense to the organization.
Choosing the best website Filtering Software is critical. A website Filtering Software is considered to be the best when it's user-friendly and that provides high micro-level controls. Each department of an organization has a different set of Acceptable Use of Policies (AUPs). Companies should have the capability to alter the configuration of the filter.
A good website filtering software would be easy to deploy and it does not demand any additional configuration, monitoring, management, and maintenance. It should also be equipped with a user-friendly web-based interface to maintain or configure the software for any user or authorized member to perform the task at ease.