How To Choose a Web Content Filter

Small and medium sized businesses often find themselves caught in the middle when it comes to their employees using technology in the workplace. It’s no secret that they need to be connected to the Internet for just about every aspect of their jobs nowadays so most office settings don’t think twice about having every workstation hooked up with access to the web. On the other side of the coin, there are employees who take advantage of this and spend their time catching up with friends on social media networks, playing games or visiting sites that are inappropriate for the workplace.

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Not only are these activities unproductive, but they can be open the door to a number of attacks against your company’s network as illicit websites and social media sites are known to host malicious files that can infect a computer to steal confidential information or grant a criminal access to the business’ files and resources.

One way to counter this behavior is to put policies in place that are clear about what types of websites employees are allowed to visit while at work and clear about what the consequences for not adhering to the policy. However this is only part of the solution. While most people will follow the guidelines in regards to what is acceptable use of the Internet, there are those who will test the boundaries and there are cases when an employee might wind up on an illicit website completely by accident. To prevent these scenarios, many SMBs put profanity filter and video moderation solutions in place to protect themselves and their employees. But choosing a web content filter isn’t always the easiest thing to do.

What to look for

Not all web content filters are the same; so choosing which one is best for your business can be a bit difficult if you don’t know what to look for.

To begin with, most will look at which solutions fit in their budget. This is obviously important, but make sure that the money allocated for this technology is appropriate. If content filtering is a need, then finding the best fit should be more important to you than the price tag.

Next look at the features included in the solution. Most will have the ability to use keyword monitoring/blocking for things like profanity filtering, blocking hate related content and stopping adult sites from being viewed. This, along with whitelisting and blacklisting, are two of the most common methods of filtering content. But they are also two of the most primitive; quality solutions will offer these services in multiple languages and will handle words in phrases. In addition to basic filtering tools, make sure that the solution you are looking at has the ability to implement image moderation so that you can make sure that content hosted by your organization isn’t offensive.

Finally, look at the support and management of the solution. If it requires lengthy training or certifications to operate it effectively then it might not be the best choice for a company with a small IT department. Also, you should be certain that support is included in the purchase price and not as an added cost.

Finding the right solution might take some time. Be sure to demo a few different packages from different vendors to find which tool you and your organization are most comfortable with. And once you are ready to implement this, make sure that you inform your employees from the beginning so that they are aware of the filtering solution and why it is in place.