Most people use cloud web filtering software without even realizing it due to the default browser security settings built into popular web browsers. While these are adequate to protect most security-aware individuals from web-borne threats, they fail to protect security-naïve individuals when they fail to take appropriate care browsing the Internet.
This creates a problem for businesses, because businesses have to base their security strategies on the “lowest common denominator”. This means that default browser security settings are not suitable for most businesses, and while it is possible to configure every browser security setting for every operating system for every user, a more practical solution is web filtering software.
The Different Types of Web Filtering Software for Businesses
There are several types of web filtering software that can meet business´s needs. These range from extremely flexible client-side filters installed on each device to extremely rigid content-limited ISPs who control what Internet content subscribers can access. Between these extremes, the most popular types of web filtering software for businesses are on-premises “gateway” filters, and commercial cloud web filtering software.
However, each type of web filtering software also has its own issues. For example, client-side filters can be expensive and require almost as much administration as default browser security settings. Content-limited ISP services can inhibit productivity if it is necessary to whitelist a blocked website before employees are able to access it, and on-premises gateway filters lack scalability and – in many cases – have to be updated manually.
Commercial cloud web filtering software doesn´t have the same issues inasmuch as it is comparatively inexpensive – yet as flexible as client-side filters – easy to administer, massively scalable, and updates are automatic. Possibly the only issues with commercial cloud web filtering software are the risks that the software vendor might be capable of monitoring user activity, or the vendor fails to secure their product against unauthorized access.
More about the Benefits of Cloud Web Filtering Software
Provided a vendor can give reasonable assurances about client privacy and security, the benefits of cloud web filtering software for business make this type of filtering solution stand out against the other options. To explain the benefits of cloud web filtering software in more detail:
As with most cloud-based services, cloud web filtering software is a subscription-based service. This means businesses pay a monthly or annual fee to the vendor based on the number of employees or devices the service is protecting. In most cases, cloud subscriptions are less expensive than the capital cost of purchasing gateway software; and, due to the scalability of cloud web filtering software, the number of subscriptions can be increased or decreased on demand.
Reduced IT Overhead
Direct costs are not the only costs associated with web filtering software. With a client-side or gateway solution, there are also indirect costs attributable to the IT overhead. Cloud web filtering software not only eliminates manual updates, but is easy to deploy, configure, and manage from a web-based administrative portal. This means that even when employees are working remotely, any white-listing requests can be dealt with quickly to avoid loss of productivity.
As well as being infinitely scalable, cloud web filtering software is also flexible for other reasons. For example, filtering policies can be applied universally, by group, or by individual user by taking advantage of category and keyword filters, and cloud keys that give users unfiltered access to the Internet if required. Consequently, cloud web filtering software can be an ideal solution for businesses who share an Internet Wi-Fi connection with members of the public.
Take Advantage of Demos and Trials Whenever Possible
If you are tempted to improve your business´s security posture by implementing cloud web filtering software, it is recommended you request a demo of the software in action and a free trial before committing to the service. The demo will give you the opportunity to see how to deploy, configure, and manage the software, and to ask questions about client privacy and security. The free trial will enable you to evaluate the software in your own environment to assess how well it copes with your business´s unique online security challenges.