How to block employees from accessing websites. Prohibiting that employees access dangerous sites, ones that have nothing to do with their job, protecting against attacks and safeguarding the company’s productivity. Let’s see how we can do this.
1. What does blocking dangerous sites in the company mean
Blocking Internet navigation within the company is dutiful. If the original objective was to limit the activities that are capable of distracting employees from their work, today a monitoring instrument, filter and navigation block in the company is fundamental for protection.
This is because we are not only talking about maintaining a high production rate in the company but, above all, protecting the network from dangers that arrive through a navigation that is too ‘shrewd’.
Therefore, blocking dangerous sites signifies, above all, protecting employees and the company itself. Of course, the filtering applications for content and navigation can also be useful for monitoring the activities of the staff. Monitor but not necessarily control.
With the introduction of hybrid work conditions, also, it is even more important to have instruments that evaluate the productivity. Instruments that produce precise reports about time spent by employees online, sites visited, which company application was used for access and for how long.
The use of a content filter tool on the web, therefore, is a good start by the company in introducing elements of company responsibility along with a relative policy. Above all, it is the right occasion to arm themselves with a valid instrument for navigation protection.
2. Why it is important to block dangerous sites in the company
Let’s look at the specifics of why it is very important to equip yourself with a good navigational filter system.
In the first place, because web access on the company network is ever more frequently made by equipment that is also used in private. The employees are mobile, they practice smart working and access company applications by using their own smartphones, tablets or portable computers, the same ones that are also used by the entire family during their free time. Navigating in total liberty on these devises runs the risk of falling fowl to cyber criminals and discovering malware when it is already too late.
It is important that the company protects the navigation made by these devices, even when mobile, by using locally installed tools. In fact, it is known that the major part of attacks that are made on IT company structures happen through malware that is present on employee devices. The damage is done as soon as the employee connects themselves remotely, or even directly, onto the company network.
We must also remember that protecting company devices as well as the network itself is actually an obligation backed up by a normative (GDPR). In the case of an incursion, or even damages, the company could even retaliate against the employee who allowed the intrusion by not using adequate protection.
With a navigation filter tool it is possible to block access to sites that include pornography, violence, content not suitable for minors and ones that hold malware, phishing and trojan instruments. Other sites that, on appearance, seem ‘healthy’ but in reality are hiding all kinds of threats.
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3. How to block employees from accessing websites: the tools
Just as we mentioned previously, the best way to block website access to employees – remember that we are answering the question “how to block employees from accessing websites” – is to equip yourself with a good web content filter management solution.
Technically speaking, a filter for controlling navigation blocks access to a URL that is suspect, from any application that is being used. Many of these solutions also allow you to block access to social networks, YouTube and online betting applications amongst other things. It all depends on the quality of the solution that you wish to adopt for your company.
These solutions are available as services that can be installed directly onto all company devices – this can be done from headquarters through just one activity. The centralised service is activated directly from the company headquarters and it will control all traffic coming in and going out on their network.
Be careful though, not all web navigation filter services are the same. It is very important, when choosing which one to adopt, to pay close attention to a few characteristics that make all the difference.
4. What to ask for in a DNS filter
Services and applications that filter navigation and answer the problem of blocking employees from accessing websites are numerous. To obtain a professional result the company should contact the market leaders and carefully evaluate the various functions included in their offers, even before asking for a price. Then, if the service price is competitive, which is the case of FlashStart, even better.
Let’s have a final check at what we should be looking for in a DNS filter. Above all, we have specified “DNS filter” for a very precise reason. To filter sites from the DNS stage and not just from their names or dominions, this is decisively more efficient. This is because it is a more targeted control, it comes directly from the computer IP that is hosting the suspect site right along the entire pathway that makes up the request.
The DNS doesn’t lie, shall we say, whilst site names and domains, as well as web pages, sometimes do. It is very easy to construct a site that is apparently very child friendly when in fact it is crammed full of child pornography, or even completely clone a bank site.
Another characteristic to consider in a DNS filter is the monitoring of the Anycast network. We are talking about a global service that guarantees protection and velocity. In technical terms, the Anycast exploitation of the network reduces to the minimum any latency during connection.
A quality DNS filter, such as the FlashStart solution, also uses Artificial Intelligence to automatically update the blacklist. In fact a site is blocked through a confrontation method. Once a user clicks on an address there is an instant website database control and if that site is present on the blacklist the navigation will be interrupted.
It is fundamental therefore that this enormous database is updated very regularly. The Artificial Intelligence algorithms contained in the FlasStart service permit the examination of up 200 thousand sites a day, supported in 24 different languages, able to recognise 90 categories based on their content.
The Netcraft site has said that there are just over one billion sites in the world, even though less than 200 million of them are constantly updated. An approximate calculation is that roughly 250.000 new sites are created around the world in a 24 hour period.
>> If you have already activated FlashStart, read this guide on how to extend the blacklist for the DNS Internet filter.
These numbers make it easily understandable therefore just how important a DNS filter such as the FlashStart one is, where you can count on fast updates on the blacklist itself.
Other characteristics that distinguish FlashStart from its competitors are the native integration of the Microsoft Active Directory service. This means that it is easily possible to integrate an internal solution for the networks that are managed by Microsoft. Another peculiarity of the FlashStart solution is Geoblocking, access blocking sites that are based in countries that are universally considered dangerous.
Finally, we would like to point out the report monitor function that allows you to have a precise idea of who is navigating, where and when. There is also the possibility of personalising the granular filter that allows you to define various policies for different groups and users as well as different company divisions.
The FlashStart cloud based service is available in different modes. FlashStart PRO has been studied for protecting the PMI and family. PRO Plus amplifies the functions to protect companies, schools and public entities. The hybrid firewall is a complete protection solution that includes also the appliance hardware and, to finish off, FlashStart has specific solutions for Internet Service Providers and carriers. Solutions that protect the navigation of the internet services subscribers.
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You can activate the FlashStart® Cloud protection on any sort of Router and Firewall to secure desktop and mobile devices and IoT devices on local networks.