What is web filtering?
A web filter, or internet filter, analyzes the web applications accessed by users and restricts access to blocklisted websites, content, and domains deemed malicious or inappropriate by admins. Organizations employ web filtering software to block potential cyber risks, limit user interactions on websites, and prevent unsafe or explicit content from being accessed by users.
How do web filters work?
Internet content filters are usually a part of cloud access security brokers (CASBs) or other cloud protection software deployed to prevent access to harmful applications and block security threats. Content control software can:
- Block access to lists of websites and cloud applications banned by administrators.
- Generate a risk profile or score web applications based on threat analytics or category of webpage content.
The types of internet filters employed are based on an organization's needs. This includes client-based filters installed in endpoints, network filters installed in the transport layer of the network, or a browser-based filter as a plug-in or extension that limits access only for a particular browser.
Why is web filtering important?
Internet filtering is one of the layers of network security that thwarts cyber risks and maintain productivity. Admins might use web filters to:
- Block known dangerous websites or harmful URLs that may contain, for example, malware, or spyware.
- Restrict access to potential emails containing phishing links.
- Prevent users or students from accessing explicit content, gaming websites, or video streaming sites.
- Block access to personal data storage applications like Dropbox or OneDrive.
- Allow only websites or cloud applications authorized by the organization.