Managing the threats against your office network is tricky enough without your needing to worry about employees leaking vital business information viewing inappropriate content in the workplace. Frequently the approach to this is locking down the network or blocking particular sites. The result of this is often an environment of fear and distrust as employees continue accessing unsanctioned online content from their smartphones or through anonymous proxies on the very workstations where you thought such content was inaccessible.
Vulnerabilities do exist in your network and they are a very real threat to your business. As a response to this, many businesses have been moving towards mitigating the threat of employee internet access by creating Acceptable Use Policies (AUP). While these policies to vary from industry to industry, they are frequently managed by an enterprise web filtering software.
The best small business content filtering software is the one that helps you manage your AUP without your having to invest too much time in it. From your business internet filter, you will likely need one that tracks user profiles with time limits and real-time threat detection to block those sites whose content has not yet been classified. You may want to consider supporting employee devices as well to monitor their mobile traffic or to leave access altogether so you can maintain CIPA or PCI Compliance. You can learn more about these issues by reading our articles on small business content filters. Be sure to check out our top selections too: ContentProtect, Umbrella Everywhere and Secure Web Gateway.
We took the time to look at the options for you by comparing the popular business web filter brands. We reviewed them with an eye for a small business that has 100 or less employees, and tested them for their reporting abilities where we were able. We counted off their features and ranked them against the following factors:
Some things to consider when you are searching content filters are the different types of features they offer. For example, do you want to be able to control your employees' internet time? Do you allow them to surf the internet during breaks and lunches, or not at all? There are different software applications that will allow you to select times when the internet or sites are blocked and times when not to block. Are there some websites that your employees need to have access to in order to help your business grow?
Some applications allow you to create a list of safe domains that may be accessed. Do you have certain groups of employees that need access to different web domains than others? There are applications available that will allow you to create user groups and select different websites to block at different times. Using business internet software can help you to increase your productivity.
Another important feature of content filters is how you are notified of different occurrences. If you travel a lot and manage your network and employees remotely, then you also want to have access to your internet filter data remotely. Auto archiving is an important feature to look for as well with office web monitoring software. You never know when you may need to review an employee's internet history. Something else to consider is choosing internet filter software that will record screenshots and keep a record of what is being searched for on the internet. These can come in handy if you ever find yourself in litigation with a disgruntled employee.
Help & Support
Good internet filter software will not leave you in the dark if you have questions. Some of the software applications we tested offer product manuals and how to guides as well as having contact information for technical support easy to find.
Finding the right small business content filtering software for you is no small task, but is one that needs to be done. It is in your interest to provide safe access from within your network while protecting yourself from the threats without. It is in our interest to help you find balance between the two.