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Web Content Filtering for Business

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When a business or corporation uses the internet to conduct business, it's important to have web content filtering.  Web content filtering allows administrators the flexibility of choosing which websites are deemed appropriate for business and which are not.  A lot of corporations have adopted the policy of having each employee sign a form recognising that they will not use the internet for any non-business related activity. 

Employee productivity is increased since they will not be able to surf the net during business hours.  Surfing the net can open up liability or sexual harassment lawsuits for a business.  For example, without web content filtering, an employee can surf websites with explicit sexual content, put the link to the website into an email and send it to another employee.  That employee finds the email offensive and the gears have been set in motion for the business to receive a sexual harassment lawsuit.  Another example, would be an employee downloading music from a website that later sues the business for being liable.  A business can save on bandwidth usage by implementing web content filtering by creating a list of websites not appropriate for business use.  If all employees would be allowed to surf to any website of their choice the drain on bandwidth for others performing business related functions would be staggering.

There are two ways to use web content filtering.  One is having an administrator manually create a list of websites according to their URL which is URL Filtering or the other Dynamic Content Filtering that automatically scans each website used and quickly matches the URL against a list automatically created.  If the website is deemed not appropriate according to the Dynamic Content Filtering, a screen comes up saying the user is blocked from access to that website and why.  With URL Filtering, an administrator must manually enter all website URL's that are inappropriate for business.  As you can see Dynamic Content Filtering is the wisest choice since it's impossible for an administrator to constantly keep up with inappropriate websites. 

Using two separate functions, web content filtering can quickly categorize websites.  The first step of the process uses Active Content Recognition. ACR uses algorithms to effectively analyze and categorize web content.  The second step looks at the parameters of each website accessed to see if there are similarities between that website and one that is inappropriate or appropriate.  The categories are broken down into gambling, sports, news, explicit content, etc. If the website the user wants to access falls into one of these categories, the user is then denied access to that website.

Having web content filtering in place also reduces the risk of adware, spyware and viruses from entering the network undetected.  Most websites that are considered inappropriate by businesses can also contain cookies which enter the network causing the user to get an excess of junk email.  If enough employees receive massive amounts of junk email again there would be a severe drain on the bandwidth not to mention a considerable reduction in employee productivity. 

- Adelaide Business Computer Services