In our modern era, the internet is an indispensable component for organizational operations, and it is vital for all sizes of companies. Without a doubt, the internet provides a lot of benefits to organizations, but it brings many hazards and cybersecurity risks as well. To cope with internet-related cybersecurity risks, companies must use content filtering tools and prohibit certain types of content sources. 

Content filtering tools allow companies to restrict and block access to predetermined websites, applications, or spam emails. Content filtering tools operate as a middleman between content sources and users. When users browse the web and try to access emails, websites, or social media applications, the data from those sources have to go through the filter prior to being affirmed. If the information from content sources fits the predetermined standards for filtering, then access is restricted. 

Content filtering tools use different approaches and methods to block and restrict access to content sources. For example, some content filtering tools employ the allowlisting and blocklisting approach to filter content sources. Allowlisting method concentrates on permitting access to predetermined websites, and applications while remaining content sources are restricted to access. On the other hand, blocklisting method focuses on prohibiting access to predetermined websites, and applications while allowing access to remaining content resources. 

In another example, some content filtering tools can use Artificial Intelligence to block or permit access meanwhile other tools can use keyword filtering to restrict access to websites that have unwanted keywords, and sentences. Implementation of filtering tools is a necessity for modern-day organizations, and in this article, we will evaluate the importance of these tools. But, before that, let’s get to know the main types of content filtering tools more.   

What Are The Main Types Of Content Filtering? 

1- Proxy Filters 

Proxy filters stand between users and servers. These filters can be utilized as gateways between corporate computer network users, and the wide world internet. While using proxy filters, administrators can create a list of domains, keywords, and IP addresses that are prohibited to access. This way, when users request access to restricted domains, IP addresses, or websites that include banned keywords, they will see a warning page, and their access will be blocked. Also, proxies enforce filtering of the data in transit and they are able to catch malware, viruses, or undesired software before they reach the corporate network.  

2- Email Filters 

Email filters analyze all the incoming and outgoing content on corporate emails. These filters control the information in headers, subject, and body and search for abnormality or unwanted keywords. Email filters can scan attachments in emails to detect malware, and block emails before they reach users’ inboxed. These filters are generally used to block malicious content and identify spam emails.   

3- Internet And Web Filters 

Internet and web filters are the most used filtering tools. Internet filters generally are managed through firewalls and they block and restrict access to certain individual pages or complete websites. As a part of internet filters, administrators can add content filters to website browsers as extensions. Meanwhile, web filters can be used to prohibit users’ access to specific URLs, unwanted content, or social media portals like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Companies can use web and internet filters together and prevent users from accessing harmful or malicious content. 

4- Search Engine Filters 

Search Engine Filters enforce filtering to the results of search engines like Bing and Google. Users can activate search engine filters to remove inappropriate content from search results. Search engine filters can block specific URLs that have adult, inappropriate, explicit, malicious, and harmful content. 

5- DNS Filtering 

Domain Name System-based content filtering occurs at the DNS level. This filtering blocks and prohibits domains that include malicious, harmful, and inappropriate content. For companies that use public DNS servers, these services might include a form of filtering options. But, when we analyze public vs private DNS regarding content filtering abilities, using private DNS servers can enable more rigid content controls. In other words, Private DNS servers allow stricter management of the content that should be accessible to employees.   

Why Content Filtering Tools Are Important? 

1- Mitigating Security Risks 

Using content filtering tools can help you mitigate web-related cybersecurity risks like malware, phishing, etc. The main purpose of content filtering tools is to reduce employees’ exposure to malicious websites and emails. On the internet, there are countless malicious websites, and when employees visit these, their devices can be infected with malware without even noticing it. Infected devices can infect corporate networks or spread malware to others. Using content filtering tools can also stop malware before spreading or infecting corporate networks. On top of these, using email filtering solutions can reduce employees’ exposure to phishing attacks. When considering all of these aspects, content filtering tools play a critical role in companies’ cybersecurity postures, and they are indispensable and essential.    

2- Improving Productivity 

Social media networks, online shopping channels, or streaming websites can be the main distraction sources. If companies permit access to these sources, employees can spend a considerable amount of time on these websites, and work less. These content sources can be named as productivity killers, that’s why restricting access to these sources is really important. Content filtering tools can block access to productivity-killer sources, and improve employees’ productivity. In other words, by using these tools companies can establish and maintain a productive work environment, where employees can only access work-related content.

3- Better Network Performance 

Using content filtering tools can boost network performance. When companies permit access to websites that consume high amounts of network bandwidth like streaming websites, their network performance decreases and they face low internet speed. Restricting access to non-work-related and high bandwidth-consuming websites is really important as it can enable better network performance and internet speed. In our modern era, establishing improved network performance and internet speed is really important for organizations as it boosts employees’ productivity and organizational operations effectiveness.  

Last Remarks 

Internet-related cybersecurity risks increase every day, and on the web, there are endless malicious websites that can put a company’s network in danger. Restricting access to malicious, harmful, and inappropriate content sources is really important. Companies can block unwanted content sources by using content filtering solutions. In the cybersecurity market, there are a lot of content filtering options that vary in form and method. Implementing the right content filtering tools can help companies mitigate web-related cybersecurity risks. Meanwhile, these tools can be used to improve employees’ productivity and establish better network performance, and internet speed.

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