Content Filtering and Site Blocking

It has been said that roughly 30% of all employees are online during working hours viewing sites that have nothing to do with work such as gaming and online shopping and even pornography. There are currently more than 4.2 million active pornographic web sites, meaning there has never been a greater need for web filtering than there is today. An increasing number of businesses provide high speed Internet access to their employees to enable them to be more productive during office hours; sadly this privilege is being abused and more and more companies are starting to realise this. The problem of wasted office hours goes a lot further than just visiting web sites of inappropriate content. Desktop applications, instant messaging, email and email attachments as well as peer to peer sharing applications all pose a threat too.

Unfortunately the technology of site blocking fails to address these issues. Site Blocking is based on pass-through filtering technology. Pass-through filtering requires all web page requests to pass through an Internet control point such as a firewall, proxy server, or caching device that immediately inspects each request to determine whether it should be allowed or denied. For reporting purposes, all responses from these pass-through filters are logged to a database. Site Blocking filters Internet content by working in conjunction with a master database of approximately 3 to 4 million web sites, organized into 70 to 100 categories including: adult content, MP3, gambling, shopping and online trading. Each of these categories can then either be entirely blocked or have limited access placed on them.

Content filtering on the other hand not only blocks access to malicious sites that could leave your companies network open to security threats; including the download of harmful software and the exploit of vulnerabilities, it also restricts access to email and instant messaging. Web filtering allows you to take control, you decide what the computers in your network can access and what they can't, dependant on what your company is about and what its needs are, making it a very flexible piece of software. With content filtering software new Internet sites are added to the master database daily, and in most instances updates are automatically downloaded to the database every night to ensure you're keeping up with the rapid evolution of the Internet. Web filtering is the most widely used technological tool to protect against exposure to inappropriate material on the Internet. These web filters can be configured to deny access to a substantial amount of adult orientated explicit material from commercial web sites. However no filter is perfect, they can all have their downfalls such as over-blocking which is when a filter is highly effective at screening out content that it often blocks content that is needed.

There has really never been a more of a time for the use of web filtering than there is today. Many businesses, big and small are already turning to content filtering to take care of their company's interests and to ensure that employees are spending their office hours actually doing work rather than using it as an excuse to sort out their personal affairs/using it as leisure time.

Helen is the web master of MySpamBin, home of all your Web Filtering needs. Please feel free to republish this article providing this resource box remains intact with a working hyperlink to our site.


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