10 Reasons You Need Web Filtering


March 16, 2022

There are ten reasons you need web filtering right now.

We’ll demonstrate why with several non-technical examples that every SMB leadership team can incorporate into their IT planning process.

First, let’s define it with an assist from Barracuda Networks: “Web filtering is a technology that stops users from viewing certain URLs or websites by preventing their browsers from loading pages from these sites.”

Second, let’s reduce confusion with its naming conventions. The web filtering solution category has several related terms describing the same service, which include but are not limited to:

  • URL filtering
  • Content filtering
  • Internet filtering
  • Web filtering software

Are you ready to jump into ten reasons you need web filtering?


Reason #1: Web Filtering Reduces Shadow IT

Shadow IT is any application or device employees use without approval from your IT department or MSP:

  • Productivity applications
  • Collaboration or messaging applications
  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Cloud storage or file-sharing services
  • Video conferencing applications
  • Calendar applications

Eighty percent of us are guilty of this practice, which necessitates up-to-the-minute controls.

For example, if a user tries to set up his own Dropbox account from the corporate domain, content filtering blocks the user from the Dropbox website.

Learn More: Reducing Shadow IT Problems


Reason #2: Web Filtering Lowers Malware Infection Risk

The Internet has a never-ending supply of websites infected with malware. When employees visit these compromised URLs, it only takes seconds before malware downloads to user machines.

Here’s the twist: antivirus software alone is not enough to protect you. Why? Novel malware strains are popping up every day and evading antivirus detection.

So any additional safeguard that prevents users from visiting infected sites is an incremental improvement.

Learn More: Nasty New Malware Evades Antivirus Detection


Reason #3: Web Filtering Keeps Your Team Focused

Web filtering puts a protective digital fence around your IT systems.

While cyber security is a multi-faceted discipline requiring employees to be “human firewalls,” we tend to lose focus and wander.

That’s because our reptile brains are no match for the processing power of solutions like Cisco Umbrella.

Cisco’s web filtering solution analyzes 180,000,000,000 internet requests per day to identify and stop threats from compromised websites. This threat intelligence is continuously updated and reflected in redrawn, restrictive boundaries.

When users encounter a dead-end route, they get diverted back to the playing field they know. What a great way to make sure everyone stays in the proper lane!


Reason #4: Web Filtering Maximizes Availability of IT Resources

When employees download supermarket coupon offers, install free PDF converters, and stream music all day, your IT system experience resource constraints.

If you have twenty people in a forty-person firm simultaneously watching YouTube videos and listening to Spotify all day, your internet bandwidth will slow to a crawl.

Free software tools and other assets from unvetted sources frequently contain adware and spyware. Both of these freebies are loaded with malicious software guaranteed to slow the processing speed of workstations. And spy on you. There’s also a good chance many of the new residents contain viruses.

Learn More: PDF Converter App Scam

We’re not suggesting you prevent your team from having any fun.

So here’s the good news: your IT administrator or MSP can set strict restrictions on all free downloads. They can also create a customized filter or shortlist for prioritized access to YouTube, Spotify, things like that.

Reason #5: Web Filtering Enhances Data Loss Prevention

According to Statistica, 42% of employees use their private Yahoo, Gmail, and O365 accounts, which means business data is leaking to the outside world.

When employees access unauthorized webmail services from your network, you lose exclusive control of trade secrets, intellectual property, business plans, proposals, client lists, etc.

In many cases, employees use their personal email accounts as a convenience. If remote access requires extra steps, many employees will send proposals back and forth from their work and home computer.

While this practice is seemingly innocent, it’s also naïve because home computers and webmail services are open to cyber invasion.

On a darker note, departing (disgruntled) employees use personal accounts to steal data from their soon-to-be ex-employer intentionally. Currentware has alarming statistics on data loss threats from insiders:

  • 70% of intellectual property theft occurs within the 90 days before an employee’s resignation announcement
  • 88% of IT workers have stated that they would take sensitive data with them if terminated
  • 72% of CEOs admit they’ve taken valuable intellectual property (IP) from a former employer
  • 50% of respondents in a Symantec survey say they have taken information, and 40% say they will use it in their new jobs


Reason #6: Web Filtering Strengthens IT Governance and Compliance

Standards, frameworks, network diagrams, and reporting are the lifeblood of IT governance and compliance.

With documentation, your organization has a plan and proof of due care. Web filtering solutions and integrated IT management tools aggregate granular data that allow you to:

  • Give executive-level presentations to engage the C-Suite
  • Provide comprehensive user guidelines on approved applications
  • Track improvements and make refinements with A/B testing
  • Make better IT budgeting decisions
  • Complete cyber insurance applications with greater efficiency


Reason #7: Web Filtering Simplifies Your IT Footprint

If you give employees what they need – best-in-class productivity and collaboration tools – they won’t have to go elsewhere.

Web filtering tools monitor attempts to visit restricted sites. Why not use this data as an informal shopping list? Even better, conduct an anonymous survey explicitly asking your team what they need.

Then pair both of these information sources to create a streamlined arsenal of business-centric applications.

“[Shadow IT] solves an immediate problem and creates speed,” says Chris Kapustka, principal architect at Insight Enterprises, an IT service provider. It shines a light within the business, showing where IT isn’t delivering.”

Learn More: The Pros and Cons of Shadow IT


Reason #8: Web Filtering Prolongs the Life of Hardware Assets

While malware doesn’t usually melt your hardware, it can render the machine inoperable. When users visit infected websites, viruses gain entry to your network where they can disable cooling fans on workstations. This action can cause the device to overheat.

Even if you have most of your applications in the cloud, every office and work-from-home employee has switches, firewalls, telecom routers, wireless access points, UPS appliances, network-attached storage, etc.

These endpoints are software-based, networked, and vulnerable to performance degradation. And sometimes, there’s a better ROI when you replace rather than repair a damaged asset.

Learn More: Prevent Damage to Computer Hardware


Reason #9: Web Filtering Reduces Legal Liabilities

When you control which websites your team visits at work, you’re one step closer to reducing legal liabilities.

If employees know they can’t access seedy dating sites, chat rooms, or firearm sellers from the office, they are less likely to try. They are also less likely to offend a fellow employee who witnesses their deviance and files a lawsuit with HR.

The financial consequences of network infiltration are dire. IBM/Ponemon estimates the cost of data loss at $180.00 per record.

The numbers add up when you consider the potential for spyware to capture personal identifying information, client data, medical records, passwords, and payment information.

According to Crowdstrike, “Spyware is not limited to the desktop browser: it can also operate in a critical app or on a mobile phone.”

Do you want fewer or no encounters with plaintiff attorneys? Just say “yes” to web filtering.


Reason #10: Web Filtering Improves Your Insurability

Improving insurability is top of mind as supply-side shortages continue to limit access.

As Zach Atya of Measured Insurance observes, “Ransomware is becoming more complex and resilient, driving the frequency and severity of business claims, causing price increases.”

Zach continues, “These trends lead to restricted coverage with more limits and higher deductibles.”

Evidence of proactivity is a must. Do you have an updated inventory of your technical assets and security technologies?

The more details you can share, the better you’ll fare with your next cyber insurance renewal.

Learn More: Four Steps for a Successful Cyber Policy Renewal


Web filtering is integral to a layered defense strategy.

You probably have some level of web filtering in your IT environment right now. However, there’s always room for improvement.

Business-grade web filtering includes a variety of layered security tools. While some solutions are complete packages, most require integration with other vendors. It can get very confusing.

The following link – The Best URL Filtering Software – makes this point abundantly clear. Figuring out what you need and what you already have (but may not be using) is no easy feat. vCIO assistance is a recommended first step.

Learn More: Web Filtering and More

Jed is a Solution Advisor at Integris who has specialized in MSP solution development, sales, and marketing communications since 2003.

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