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URL filtering – Big Brother? Or Big Productivity Boost?

12th July 2022
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No matter which camp you sit in, there can be no denying that some form of URL filtering goes a long way in enhancing cyber security. But what is URL filtering, and how could it help your business?

In it’s simplest form, URL filtering is a specific list of website URLs for which access is either ‘allowed’ or ‘blocked’ for web users on a specific network.

URL filtering is not just to stop users spending all day scrolling through Facebook, it can generate some real benefits.

In an education setting, restricting access to certain URLs can help to safeguard young or vulnerable internet users against potentially dangerous or illegal content, including gambling and inappropriate 18+ content.

In a business setting, productivity is increased when the distraction of online shopping, social media or online gambling is not accessible. Plus, with a restriction on video websites, valuable band width can be used on business activity, rather than viewing online videos.

In both settings, URL filtering can improve cyber security by restricting unsuspecting users from accessing phishing or malware content, preventing a potential cyber attack before it begins.

Easier than you’d think

Getting a URL filtering solution up and running is not as onerous a task as it sounds for system administrators. While a ‘black’ or ‘white’ list can be curated for specific URLs, URL filtering can be set up by category or topic, incorporating hundreds of URLs in one go, efficiently restricting specific types of content from being access. Categories might include gambling, e-commerce, social networks or phishing, while an organisation-specific white list might include company portals, software updates or industry news sites.

The great thing about URL filtering is that it can be deployed locally or on the cloud. Whether in the office or at home, on a company/school device or on a personal device, if they are on the network, they are subject to the URL filtering. With more and more users bringing their own devices, and working from home, this offers piece of mind from a cyber security and personal security stand point.

Its not all work and no play

For instances where certain teams or individuals require access to URLs that others may not, the system administrator is able to grant access on an individual basis. For example, in a local authority setting, social networking sites may be blocked, however the teams who manage marketing or customer service may require access in order to effectively do their job.

Time restrictions can also be added to the URL filtering, so the ‘blocking’ of specific sites could be removed at certain times. For example, e-commerce sites could be unblocked for an hour at lunchtime, or social networking sites could be unblocked out of office hours.

Enhance your cyber security armour

Not everyone is equal when it comes to IT literacy, therefore a good URL filtering system could really help prevent cyber security attacks on your network. By restricting access to malware and phishing URLs, users who may be unaware of their actions – through vulnerability or naivety – will not be able to access this potentially dangerous content.

Acronis Cyber Protect

As your trusted advisors, at Immervox we work in partnership with leading cyber-security experts Acronis. As part of their market-leading cyber security solutions, Acronis’ URL filtering features a machine learning model that analyses the URL but also the page structure, meaning filtering lists and categories are continually updated and scrutinised to ensure ongoing and evolving protection.

If you are interested in learning more about URL filtering, Acronis Cyber Protect functionality, or cyber security in general, please reach out to our experts who would be happy to chat with you.

If you’re not sure where to begin, why not book a FREE IT Connectivity Business Review with our experts for an efficiency and security review of your current infrastructure.

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