What is Web Filtering?
With billions of active websites available on the internet, it’s easy to see why we would need a solution designed to seek out and filter potentially dangerous websites. Web filtering seems like a simple concept, but under the surface, it’s a conglomerate of independently moving parts, systems, information and knowledge, deployed to keep us safe. In the best case user scenario, web filtering is imperceptible, filtering out dangers and risks before we even see them – but do you know what’s also designed to be imperceptible? Malware and ransomware – and one wrong click can land you and your organization in a world of trouble without a web filtering solution.
Web filtering technology restricts user access to particular URLs or websites and is manufactured for every situation from individual use to multi-national enterprise use. Enterprise-grade web filters primarily block content determined by an enterprise to be non-productive or potentially dangerous, through the use of black and white-lists. They are also able to perform an immediate analysis of the content of a page and allow or restrict access, dependant on the findings. The best web filtering solutions make use of a URL database which classifies websites as safe for use, or as a potential malware, phishing or virus host.
How does web filtering work?
Web filtering uses hardware or software-based solutions to establish and maintain rules determining the types of sites that users may visit when using a network internet. Content determined to belong to time-wasting or illegal categories like gambling, adult and gaming, is blocked by the web filtering solution. Domain Name System filtering, or DNS filtering, is gaining in popularity due to its ability to filter content from web pages to determine their safety level, and potentially block them before they have a chance to infiltrate the network and attack, or before video streaming or gaming websites sap away employee productivity.
Types of Web Filtering
Web filtering works in a few different ways.
- First, it utilizes a “Block” or “Allow” list, also known as “Black” and “White” lists. While some products automatically allow or disallow access to Web pages, some web filtering solutions give an IT administrator the ability to manually determine which websites are safe to view using the network. This gives administrators total control over all websites visited by users, but creates a great deal of work for administrators tasked with populating the lists, and frustration for users, who might want to visit a safe and secure website, but find it blocked by the IT department.
- Web filtering also works using keywords and content filters, filtering out websites featuring certain keywords associated with sites that provide entertainment like gaming, pornography or video streaming.
Why is web filtering important for enterprises?
Enterprises rely on web filtering to keep their employees on task and compliant, and their networks clear of lurking threats. Employee use of BYOD puts enterprise networks, and thus all other users and systems, at risk of theft and attack. With the cost of attacks rising exponentially, a web filtering solution could be all that stands in the way of the failure of your business.
What are web filtering configuration options?
Sangfor Web Filtering Options
Sangfor has developed a few different web filtering solutions for enterprise – Sangfor Next Generation Application Firewall (NGAF) and Sangfor Internet Access Gateway (IAG).
Sangfor NGAF is a converged security solution providing protection against IPS, advanced threat, malware, viruses, ransomware and web-based attacks using integrated security features like FW, IPS, AV, anti-malware, APT, URL filtering, cloud sandbox, and WAF. Sangfor NGAF uses its own cloud sandbox to isolate possible emerging threats that haven’t yet been added to any security database, making it especially effective against 0-day attacks.
Sangfor IAG, previously known as Sangfor IAM (Internet Access Management), is a superior Internet behaviour management solution consisting of professional web filtering and internet bandwidth management, application control, URL filters, traffic control, information control, illegal hotspot/proxy control, behaviour analysis, wireless network management and many more features. Sangfor's IAG Secure Web Gateway has been listed in the SWG Gartner Magic Quadrant for 10 consecutive years, serves more than 20,000 customers in every industry, and provides several critical functions, including:
- Minimizing access to non-business-related sites and distractions
- Minimizing bandwidth usage and availability
- Minimizing leakage and regulatory risks and protects intranet data security
- Visual management and comprehensive control of wireless APs
- Unified internet behaviour management for wired and wireless networks
- Simplified legal compliance with simplified cross-regional controls
For more information on Sangfor NGAF or IAG protections and solutions, including web filtering, visit Sangfor’s website, or visit Gartner’s Peer Review page for more first-hand experiences and advice about NGAF and IAG (aka IAM) from industry experts across the globe.
Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at www.sangfor.com to learn more about Sangfor’s Security solutions, and let Sangfor make your IT simpler, more secure and valuable.