The Critical Role of Content Filtering in Reducing Risk

The Critical Role of Content Filtering in Reducing Risk

Internet risk isn’t limited to malicious websites. Hackers are placing dangerous links and content on popular, legitimate websites. Every time you visit a website, an average of 25 background sites are contacted to serve ads, collect data, and launch videos and other content. In some cases, you don’t even have to click a link or open a document to have malware downloaded to your device. Fact is, all Internet sites and content are inherently risky on some level.

According to a recent report, 42 percent of the top 100,000 websites are considered risky. This is based on the use of vulnerable software, history of malware distribution and cyberattacks, and security breaches within the past year. News and media websites are the riskiest category, with 49 percent having at least one risk factor. Business and economy websites, which include company, association, industry group, financial data and services, and hosted business applications, suffered the most security incidents.

In addition to legitimate websites that are frequently compromised, your employees could be creating risk by accessing certain sites or materials. Whether these employees realize they’re doing it or not, they could be violating company policy or regulatory requirements. That’s why content filtering is an essential part of a layered security strategy.

Content filtering is the process of preventing access to potentially dangerous, inappropriate, unproductive or illegal content. This content typically includes websites, emails, executables and other materials. For example, many organizations don’t allow the use of certain social media sites while on the company network, not just because they’re distracting, but because of the risky links and content that are frequently shared.

When a user attempts to visit a website, a content filtering solution will determine how safe the site is and allow or deny access. The request is automatically cross-referenced with dynamic databases of web address, IP addresses and character strings, and a score for the site is generated in real time. If the score meets the safety standards as defined by your policies, access will be allowed. Some solutions can also filter web-based applications, instant messages, email and more to block access to forbidden content and prevent data leakage.

WatchGuard’s WebBlocker is a URL filtering solution that helps you control and monitor Internet activity across your organization and protect sensitive data. Delivered as an integrated security service, WebBlocker allows you to choose from more than 130 blocking categories and sub-categories and filter on both HTTP and HTTPS protocols. Establish policies based on user, group and schedule, and receive instant notifications when users try to access blocked content. In addition to enhancing security and productivity, WebBlocker ensures bandwidth for mission-critical applications by blocking or limiting non-work-related web activity.

Content filtering has been primarily used in K-12 education, where content filtering is required, but business use cases are expanding. When critical applications and data are shared not only with remote workers, but also customers, suppliers and vendors, the risk created by malware, denial of service attacks and other threats increases. Content filtering can also play an important role in satisfying increasingly strict and complex regulatory requirements. Let Verteks show you how WatchGuard’s WebBlocker can improve your security and compliance posture and keep your team focused on work-related tasks.