Web content filtering is critical for organizations to protect networks and users against web-based threats, objectionable internet content, and distracting websites. Many websites, even if they aren’t malicious, can be problematic because of compliance regulations, bandwidth usage, or productivity-related concerns. Web content filtering solutions enable organizations to track and regulate website access based on their content categories, protecting users and businesses from online threats. In this article, we share a list of the best web content filtering solutions for 2023 that could protect organizations from web-based threats.
What is Web Content Filtering?
Web content filtering is the process that screens and restricts access to specific websites. It involves implementing company policies across devices based on information system usage through a company’s network. For example, content filters can block access to social media or other websites unrelated to the work environment or considered distractions. By creating predetermined rules, content filters identify attributes such as objects within an image or text strings like keywords and group them into content categories such as adult, gambling, or social networking. Blocking a content category prevents users from accessing URLs associated with that category.
Why is Web Content Filtering Important?
Threat actors design malicious websites to siphon information. Ransomware, malware, phishing, and viruses are some of the biggest business threats. Such websites can compromise a computer system and put sensitive information, such as a company’s intellectual property, into the hands of unwanted people. Content filtering protocols help reduce malware and improve security infections by blocking websites with high-risk malware.
Non-work-related internet usage can significantly drain an organization’s network bandwidth. By restricting access to websites, organizations can achieve more bandwidth efficiency. Moreover, web content filtering software is beneficial for improving staff productivity. Non-essential apps, such as online shopping and streaming websites, are major productivity sinks that take up a valuable portion of working hours. Content filters prevent access to such distracting websites to increase staff productivity and operational excellence as well.
Protecting students, especially children, from pornographic and violent content is paramount. Teachers may not be physically present to monitor and watch the content students are exposed to; additionally, institutions may not know which sites to restrict. Content filtering helps achieve complete control over what websites are accessible to students by applying the rules determined by the IT administrator. However, misinterpretation may lead to excessive restriction of relevant websites. Digital marketing companies should also have documented content filtering policies before implementing a solution.
Benefits of web content filtering:
- Saves businesses from liabilities and violations
- Prevents malware downloads and systems
- Boosts employee and student productivity
- Protects personal information from cyber threats
Web Content Filtering Solutions
1. Scalefusion UEM
Scalefusion is a unified endpoint management (UEM) solution that allows organizations to monitor and control the content that can be viewed on the browsers of managed devices. Scalefusion’s web content filtering is available for all major web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Opera). The IT admin or security team can use the filter to create an Allowlist or Blocklist of URLs.
All URLs added to the Allowlist are visible on the device browser, while all other URLs are restricted from opening on the device browser. URLs added in the Blocklist cannot be viewed on the browser, while all other URLs are allowed. Scalefusion UEM is the best web content filtering solution for enterprises that have office or remote workers using company-owned smartphones, tablets, or laptops/desktops. If you are a Salesforce user, consider partnering with a Salesforce consulting partner or Salesforce partner to integrate Scalefusion UEM and make the most of your web content filtering efforts.
SafeDNS web content filtering service is a cloud-based filter that blocks botnets and malicious phishing websites. In addition to minimizing malware attacks, it filters online ads and content that may be deemed inappropriate or unrelated to work. SafeDNS has a multi-policy filtering feature that allows for deploying an individual filtering policy for every single user. SafeDNS offers its web filtering service for home, educational institutions, and corporate users.
3. McAfee Web Protection
McAfee Web Protection provides web filtering, anti-malware scanning, deep content inspection, and granular control over Web 2.0 websites. The solution’s deployment flexibility allows businesses to secure users at office locations with hardware or virtual appliances and remote or traveling staff with cloud services. The reporting feature assists companies in identifying trends, documenting incorrect web activity, and customizing web filtering settings to regulate web usage policies.
4. Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway
Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway (SWG) can decrypt and inspect traffic in the cloud or locally on endpoint devices. It can block user access to specific URLs, including websites that are popularly malicious or violate company policy. Forcepoint SWG helps guard against web-borne malware by enabling Zero Trust-based advanced threat protection (ATP) and blocking categories of websites. The solution is part of the Forcepoint ONE security platform that offers data loss prevention (DLP), application control, antivirus software, HTTPS inspection, and access control.
5. Barracuda Web Security Gateway
The Barracuda Web Security Gateway provides web filtering as well as access and advanced threat applications and is available as a physical appliance, virtual appliance, or SaaS. It manages user exposure to web-borne malware and viruses, lost user productivity, and misused bandwidth. The solution combines spyware, malware, and virus protection with a policy management and reporting engine. Additional features include social network regulation, remote filtering, and visibility into SSL-encrypted traffic.
6. EdgeWave St. Bernard
EdgeWave St. Bernard offers real-time threat protection against malware, phishing attacks, and other online threats. It leverages a multi-layered approach to threat detection, combining signature-based scanning, behavioral analysis, and machine learning algorithms to provide comprehensive protection. The solution is easy to deploy and manage with a user-friendly interface that allows IT teams to set up policies and filtering rules. It also offers reporting and analytics, giving organizations visibility into user activity.
7. GoSecure Web Security
GoSecure Web Security offers a unique combination of content filtering combined with threat detection and mitigation methods against botnets, malware, and viruses. The cloud-hybrid platform provides real-time malware defense and URL classification based on automated intelligence and human analysis to block threats like Crypto-lockers.
Which Web Content Filter is Best for You?
Selecting the fitting web content filter depends on the organization’s specific needs and requirements. If organizations plan onboarding software to manage their endpoints, a UEM solution with web content filtering capability would be the right choice. Organizations looking for an advanced security solution may consider comprehensive tools that offer protection against malware, viruses, hacking attempts, and web content filtering.
In today’s online world, organizations must over-prepare to protect corporate information and maintain their brand reputation. Web content filtering adds a much-needed security layer to mitigate unwanted situations resulting from the misuse of the internet. The solutions suggested above should enable organizations across industries, size segments, and geographies to take a proactive approach by monitoring their workforce’s website activity and securing the corporate environment—remote or in-office.