What is Content Filtering?

Content filtering is a program that controls, monitors, and restricts access to unwanted online content to protect against inappropriate content and prevent cyber-attacks.

Content filtering is the process of monitoring and restricting the type of content that can be accessed or downloaded from the Internet. It is typically used to protect against inappropriate or harmful content, such as pornography, violence, hate speech, and malware.

A content filter can be implemented in several ways, including through hardware devices, software applications, and DNS servers. It is often used with other security measures, such as firewalls and antivirus software.

Content filtering can be a helpful way to protect employees from inadvertently viewing or downloading inappropriate or harmful content. It can also help to prevent malicious actors from accessing sensitive company data or systems.

Why is Content Filtering Important?

Content filters are an essential part of a comprehensive security strategy. They provide an important layer of protection against malware and other risks. If you’re not already using a content filter, now is the time to consider implementing one in your business.

Here are several benefits of using a content filter:

Decrease the Risk of Malware Attacks

Malware (short for malicious software) is any software designed to harm a computer system. It can come in many forms, including viruses, Trojan horses, worms, and spyware. Malware can steal private and sensitive information, damage data, and/or disrupt operations.

Content filters can help protect against malware attacks by:

  • Identifying and blocking malicious content before it reaches your systems
  • Analyzing internet traffic and identifying behavior patterns indicative of malware activity.

Improve Employee Productivity

A content filter can be an important tool for improving employee productivity in your business. By blocking access to certain websites and online content, you can help employees focus more on their work and less on distractions. 

Some of the ways you can use a content filter to improve employee productivity include: 

  • Blocking access to social media sites and streaming services. 
  • Restricting access to inappropriate websites or content. 
  • Tracking employee Internet usage and identifying potential threats. 
  • Setting time limits on Internet usage during work hours. 
  • Setting up educational web filters to restrict employees’ access to certain topics unrelated to their job duties.

Boost Network Bandwidth

Content filtering can be an extremely effective way to boost your network bandwidth. By sifting out unwanted or unnecessary content, you can free up a significant amount of bandwidth that can be used for other purposes.

Increase Protection from Exploit Kits

Exploit kits are a type of malware that allows hackers to take advantage of vulnerabilities in software to infect a computer with malware. They are often used to deliver ransomware or other malicious attacks. By blocking access to websites that host exploit kits, you can help protect your employees from becoming infected with malware.

Overall, content filtering can increase protection from online threats and improve employee productivity. So, if you’re looking for a way to improve your business’s security and efficiency, implementing a content filter is a great option.

How Does a Content Filter Work?

There are a variety of ways in which content filtering can be implemented. Still, most require some form of software to scan incoming traffic for specific keywords or patterns that indicate the presence of unwanted content. Once such content is detected, the software can take a variety of actions, such as:

  • Blocking access to the offending site
  • Redirecting the user to a different page
  • Displaying a warning message.

Types of Content Filters

There are several different types of content filters that businesses can implement to restrict access to certain types of online content. They include:

  • DNS-based content filters work by blocking access to websites that are on a blacklist of site domains. 
  • Email filters can be used to block incoming emails from certain addresses or containing certain keywords. 
  • Web filters can be used to block access to specific websites or website categories.
  • Proxy content filters allow businesses to control what type of content employees can access when using company computers and networks. 
  • Search engine filters improve the quality of your search results and protect your business from potentially harmful content. By filtering out unwanted content, you can focus on the most relevant and useful results for your users. 

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Hardware vs. Software vs. Cloud-Based Filtering

There are three main types of content filters: hardware, software, and cloud-based. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at each one in greater detail.

Hardware content filters 

  1. They are physical devices installed between your network and the internet. 
  2. They inspect the data packets passing through and block those that match pre-determined criteria.
  3. They are usually very effective but can be expensive to maintain and manage. 

Software content filters 

  1. They are installed on individual computers or servers. 
  2. They work by inspecting the requested web pages and blocking those that match predetermined criteria. 
  3. They can be less effective than hardware content filters but are usually much easier to manage. 

Cloud-based content filters

  1. They are provided as a service by third-party companies.
  2. They work by inspecting the requested web pages and blocking those that match pre-determined criteria. 
  3. They can be less effective than hardware content filters, but they are easy to set up and manage.

Content Filtering with Perimeter 81

Perimeter81 offers a content filter solution that is easy to implement and manage. With Perimeter81, businesses can customize their content filtering rules to match their specific security needs. We also offer real-time monitoring and reporting, so businesses can see which websites are being accessed and when.

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How do I turn off content filtering?
How to turn off content filtering for a specific website
You can usually do this by adding the website to your company’s list of approved sites. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact your IT department or the website’s support team for help.

How to turn off content filtering for a specific user
If you need to allow a specific user access to a site normally blocked by your content filter, you can usually do this by creating a custom rule in your filter settings. Again, if you’re unsure how to do this, contact your IT department or the website’s support team for help.

How to turn off content filtering entirely
Disabling your content filter entirely is not recommended, as it can leave your company vulnerable to malware and other security threats. However, if you absolutely must disable the filter, you can usually do so through your filter’s settings menu. Once again, if you’re unsure how to do this, contact your IT department or the website’s support team for help.
What is content filtering on my phone?
There are several content filters available for phones, including those that come pre-installed on some devices. Content filters can also be downloaded as apps from app stores. 

Content filtering is a built-in feature on many smartphones. It most commonly allows users to block certain types of content from being accessed on their devices. This is most commonly used to restrict:

– Unwanted and inappropriate content for children
– Stop employees from accessing work-related sites during personal time
– Block ads and other unwanted content.
What are the disadvantages of content filtering?
Web Filtering is a great solution if you use organizational devices or networks. There are a few potential disadvantages to implementing content filtering in your business: 

It can be time-consuming to set up and manage content filters, especially if you have a lot of employees or devices to keep track of.
If not configured properly, content filters can block innocent websites and cause frustration for employees who need access to them for work.

Some types of content filters can be expensive to purchase and maintain. Content filters may not be 100% effective at blocking all inappropriate or unwanted material, so it’s important to still monitor employee internet usage even if you have a filter in place.

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