Business Web Filters

Business web filters are cybersecurity solutions that protect against Internet threats. They have become increasingly important in recent years as the number of cyberattacks on businesses has increased, as has the sophistication of those attacks. To protect against sophisticated cyberattacks, layered security is recommended. Businesses need to implement multiple overlapping layers of security to ensure that if one measure fails to block a threat, there will be other layers that will provide protection.

Why You Should Use a Business Web Filter Software

While it is true that the majority of cyberattacks start with a phishing email, many attacks have a web-based component. Phishing emails often link to attacker-controlled websites where credentials are harvested. Emails are often sent with attachments with malicious code, which if allowed to run, will download malware from a remote server.

Cybercriminals are constantly changing their tactics, techniques, and procedures to evade security defenses, and while an advanced email security gateway will be able to block the majority of malicious emails, some will sneak past and arrive in inboxes.

Cybercriminals create malicious web content and then promote the websites using a technique called search engine poisoning. Search engine optimization tactics are used to get the websites to appear high in the organic search engine listings for specific terms used by businesses. When users search for those terms, the malicious sites appear high up in the listings and are likely to be visited.

Malicious adverts are often created that redirect Internet users to malicious websites. These adverts are placed on third-party ad networks that are used by many legitimate website operators for improving revenue. These malicious adverts – termed malvertising.- frequently appear on high-traffic websites.

Exploit kits are commonly uploaded onto compromised websites. Exploit kits consist of code that scans visitors’ computers looking for vulnerabilities that can be exploited. They include exploits for those vulnerabilities, which allow hackers to gain access to devices, often through silent malware downloads.

These and other web-based threats can be blocked with business web filters.

How do Business Web Filters Work?

The main method used to block access to malicious websites is blocklists. These are lists of known malicious web pages and websites with poor reputations. The lists are constantly updated as new malicious content is found. Business web filter solutions constantly scan the Internet and assess new content, assign those sites and web pages to a category, and if they are malicious, add them to the blocklist. Typically, these filtering solutions will have already crawled and analyzed the Alexa 1 million most visited websites, but they also perform dynamic content filtering and will assess web content in real-time in a fraction of a second.

Users of these solutions will be automatically protected from malicious content and can set their own filtering rules to block access to certain categories of web content. Risky categories of websites such as peer-2-peer file sharing and warez sites can be blocked for security, and many businesses choose to block access to webmail to prevent employees from uploading sensitive data to their personal email accounts. Adult content such as pornography can be blocked, and access to productivity drains such as social media sites, gambling, gaming, dating sites and can be prevented.

Business web filters often allow restrictions to be placed on the file types that can be downloaded from the Internet. Risky files, such as executable files and zip files, can be blocked. By blocking executable files, IT teams can prevent the installation of unauthorized software by employees – termed Shadow IT. Shadow IT is a major security risk not only as the software may incorporate malicious code, but the IT department will be unaware of the software and will not know to apply patches to fix vulnerabilities.

Monitor Internet Access and Gain Valuable Insights

Business web filters log all Internet traffic and provide IT teams with intelligence about online activities. For cybersecurity, the logs provide information about threats that have been encountered, which helps IT teams with investigations of security incidents. That information can help the team take action to block threats, and provides information on threats that could be used to update security awareness training courses.

The reports from business web filters provide insights into bandwidth use, allowing IT teams to identify sites that are hogging bandwidth. They can then block or temporarily restrict access to those sites to ensure that sufficient bandwidth is available to meet the needs of the business.

Businesses that offer free Wi-Fi to their customers can gain insights into their online behavior, such as the sites customers are visiting. That information can be used to guide future marketing efforts.


There are many benefits of using business web filters. You can improve security, achieve productivity increases, reduce legal risk by blocking illegal activities, prevent the development of a hostile work environment by blocking pornography, hate speech, and racist content, and gain valuable insights into how the Internet is being used.