Should You Implement Web Filtering in the Workplace?

Posted by Mark Jennings - October 17, 2018 - Managed IT

Close up of hand with laptop and media iconsThe web is imperative for efficiency in many job roles today. The accessibility and convenience that the internet provides has made helped workplaces become more productive than ever before.

But despite all of the obvious benefits, employees using the internet at work can also be a source of distraction and even a security risk.

Company web filtering is one solution that many organizations implement to help solve the challenges of internet access in the workplace. According to research from Spiceworks, 58 percent of organizations actively monitor employee internet activity on corporate networks. Additionally, 89 percent of organizations block or limit the use of one or more online service/site, such as social media, streaming services, or online shopping.

Are you going back and forth about whether you should implement web filtering in the workplace? Here are the most important considerations to keep in mind. 

Better Cybersecurity Control

One of the main reasons why companies consider implementing web filtering initiatives has to do with the importance of business cyber security.

The web is filled with dangerous websites designed to victimize unsuspecting browsers. Employees who are unaware of the dangers of unfiltered web browsing can inadvertently invite a variety of cybersecurity risks to an organization. Web filtering helps to block employees from being able to accidentally land on these malicious sites and significantly reduces the likelihood of data breaches and virus attacks.

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Improved Productivity

The internet is an invaluable resource for employees as they manage their daily work routine. However, without proper guidelines in place, unlimited web browsing can quickly begin to negatively impact productivity levels. Among organizations that don’t restrict any internet activity, IT pros estimate 58 percent of employees spend more than four hours per week (or at least 10% of a standard 40-hour week) on non-work-related sites, and 26 percent of employees spend more than seven hours on non-work-related sites. 

There is no shortage of time-wasting sites on the web, and those hours of lost productivity can add up to lost revenue. Web filtering enables you to limit these distractions by blocking access to certain websites. Blocking social media has proven to be one of the most effective ways to get employees to spend less time on non-work related sites. 

Fewer Bandwidth Issues

Media streaming websites can transmit significant amounts of data over a network in a short amount of time. While some employees enjoy streaming music or watching YouTube videos while they work, if multiple staff members follow the same practice, it can cause significant bandwidth issues on your network. Slower performing networks create productivity restraints within all departments of an organization and web filters to make it easy to control these issues effectively.

Reduced Company Liability

Web filtering can be a necessary solution for businesses looking to protect themselves from legal nightmares. Pirated downloads of copyrighted material can lead to criminal charges against anyone whose found guilty.

Unfortunately, if employees use business networks or computers to download these pirated materials, liability can transfer to the owners of the company. Filtering specific website can also help to prevent employees from purposely or accidentally navigating to inappropriate sites that are against safe browsing practices.

What Websites are Companies Blocking?

The most commonly restricted online sites/services on corporate networks are:

  • Illegal sites (blocked by 85 percent of organizations)
  • Unethical/inappropriate sites (blocked by 85 percent of organizations)
  • Online dating sites (blocked by 61 percent of organizations)
  • Social media channels (blocked by 38 percent of organizations)
  • Personal instant-messaging (blocked by 34 percent of organizations)

web filtering

It’s important to note that not everything is black and white when it comes to web filtering. There is a constant need to balance protecting the company with enabling employees to effectively do their jobs without feeling restricted. New threats are constantly emerging, and it may not be possible to block every potentially dangerous site. Web filtering is one part of the layered IT security model, and is just one of the many ways you can—and should— protect your company.  

Are you considering implementing web filtering within your organization? Talk to SymQuest. We can help you navigate your questions and create a plan for a smooth launch of this important tool.   

about the author

Mark Jennings

Mark Jennings is SymQuest’s Area Vice President of IT Sales. Jennings works with SymQuest’s sales and service teams to educate customers on current best practices around data protection, disaster recovery, security, and overall technology planning.

Mark Jennings
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