What is Web Filter?

Web filter is a feature that IT admins can use to restrict access to various aspects of the web like URLs, web applications and downloads. This feature can be used to create a fortified boundary that protects IT admins' networks from unexpected attacks that arise from landing on malware-infected websites, download of malicious files. Web filter can also be used to block access to unnecessary distractions that keep users away from work, thereby improving productivity.

The web filtering guide will cover:

Why is web filtering software important for Enterprises?

With more and more organizations adopting a cloud-first approach, bowsers have become a tool that employees use on a daily basis. Browsers are now a conduit to not only the cloud, but also to the malware and distractions present on the web. In order to ensure that these browsers are not exploited by cybercriminals to target organizations, web filter becomes necessary. A web filtering software will effectively weed out any malicious content and will ensure that users can access only trusted and authorized websites.

How does a web filter work

The web is filled with malware and other attack vectors laying low, waiting to take advantage of users' slip ups and distractions. While browsing the web, users sometimes accidentally land on a malicious website infected with malware, leading to compromise of sensitive enterprise data. With Browser Security Plus' web activity tracking feature, IT admins can get a good idea of which sites are unnecessary and needs to be blocked. Based on the insights, they can use the enterprise URL filtering feature to deny/allow access to websites and web-apps.

How to block Web pages in the enterprise network

IT admins can deny access to websites that are not needed in the organization. This prevents users from visiting websites that aren't trusted/authorised in the organization. IT admins can define groups for sites using categories like social media, video streaming, productivity, business, etc. Groups like social media and video streaming can be blocked to ensure that user productivity doesn't drop. Follow the below steps to block websites in your network.

Step 1: Navigate to policies, and click on Browser Customization.

Navigating to Web filter policy offered by Browser Security Plus.

Step 2: Click on Create policy and select the browser on which you want to block websites.

Creating web filter policy for desired browser.

Step 3: Name the policy.

Using Browser Security Plus' Web filtering software to create an allowed list.

Step 4: Click on URL access from the left tree.

Using Browser Security Plus' enterprise Web filter software to weed out unnecessary websites.

Step 5: Click on the drop down list and select the website group that you want to block. Click here for steps to create website groups.

Creating an allowed/deny list of websites using Browser Security Plus' web filter software.

Step 6: Click on the drop down list corresponding to action, and click on URL blacklist.

Choosing to blacklist or whitelist websites using web filter feature.

Step 7: Save and publish the policy.

How to allow Web pages in the enterprise network

With the Whitelist URLs feature, users will be allowed to access only those URLs whitelisted by IT admins, making the remaining URLs inaccessible to users. This feature allows access only to sites that are an absolute necessity for business. For example, whitelisting site groups like productivity and business ensures that users will only be able to access sites defined in the productivity and business groups while restricting access to any other sites. Follow steps 1 to 5, from above.

Step 6: Click on the drop down list corresponding to action, and click on URL whitelist.

Choosing to blacklist or whitelist websites using web filter feature

Step 7: Save and publish the policy.

Who should use web filter software?

  • Organizations - that want to prevent employees from accessing websites that are unproductive or unauthorized, thereby improving security without compromising on productivity.
  • Educational Institutions - to block offensive and distracting content, while ensuring security.

Restrict downloads based on criteria with Browser Security Plus' web filtering software

Drive-by downloads are a popular means to spread malware. Unsuspecting users get infected with malware when they land on malicious websites. This can be prevented by restricting downloads from untrusted websites. With Browser Security Plus' web filter feature, IT admins can enjoy precise control over the downloads that happen in their network. They can restrict specific file types from being downloaded from untrusted websites.

Schedule web filter for specific timings

Browser Security Plus' web filter feature allows IT admins to perform URL filtering and download restriction for specific timings. Browsers have become a conduit to not only the cloud, but also to innumerable distractions hosted on the web. To ensure that users do not fall prey to such distractions, IT admins can restrict users to authorized websites only during office hours. Or alternatively they can restrict distractions like social media websites or popular gaming websites during office hours. Either of these methods can help improve user's productivity.

To get started using Web Filter and to secure your network, download a free, 30-day trial of Browser Security Plus and try out these features for yourself.