What is Web Content Filtering?
Web content filtering blocks access to websites that might be dangerous, offensive, or inappropriate.
How Does Web Content Filtering Work?
Content filtering works by using rule to manage website access. These rules can be applied through either hardware, such as a firewall, or software. These rules use a combination of keywords and categories --- think adult, alcohol, gambling -- to identify and block sites.
When you type a website name (URL) in your browser or click a website link, your browser immediately contacts a server.
This is called a DNS server
. Your browser sends the website name to this server over the internet.
A DNS server is like your neighborhood directory. Each house belongs to someone. To find your neighbor's name, you search the directory by her name and find her address.
The DNS server looks at the website name you requested and finds the unique IP address for the website. An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a unique identifier for each device on a computer network. Think of it as your home address.
Before you can see the website's content in your browser, we need to learn more about the website. This is DNS content (or web) filtering.
A request to check this website is sent from the DNS server to a DNS content filtering server.
The DNS content filter server goes through a series of checks.
Is this website on the list of known potential risk sites?
Is this a website your company allows?
Are you allowed to visit this website?
Does the website contain content that is on the list of blocked categories?
What rules has your company defined to manage website access?
When the DNS content filtering check approves your website, the content filtering server sends the IP address for your website to your browser
The website is displayed on your browser.
If the website does not pass all the filtering criteria, then your browser displays a message that this website is not allowed.
This entire trip and filtering happens in a matter of milliseconds.
How Does Content Filtering Protect Your Company?
When you hear website blocking, it's only natural to think of it as heavy-handed and controlling. The reality is, when properly implemented and thoughtfully explained to everyone, responsible internet activity becomes a positive, shared commitment.
Helpful Tips to Consider
Malware can impact the performance of your devices. Websites are a source of malware, and content filtering can help contain this risk. Malware is continuously working in the background to find valuable information, track your activities, and send your stolen data to their internet servers.
How much time do your employees waste every day waiting for their desktops and laptops to do what they need to do?
Malware can secretly use one of your computers to stream unacceptable content across the internet.
What would happen if one of your company's computers became the new favorite internet destination for some really unsavory content?
Stolen email addresses and login credentials make sending unauthorized emails on behalf of your company too easy.
One often overlooked outcome from the unauthorized use of your domain is the potential for being blacklisted.
This means that your entire company can be prevented from sending and receiving emails.
What would no emails means to your day-to-day business? What would happen if you rely on e-commerce or website transactions?
The damage that results from your company's stolen information extends far beyond your company.
Consider the immediate impact to your reputation and clients' trust. You will have to quickly let them know there has been a breach.
Your clients' data has also been compromised. The impact now reaches their customers and clients as well. It's like a rapidly growing hurricane eye.
The benefits to your company are substantial. Employees don't intentionally do anything wrong. They simply need the knowledge and proper defenses. Remember, you, not your employees, are ultimately responsible for your company's internet activities.
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