Should You Have a Web Filtering Policy?

Should You Have a Web Filtering Policy?

Is it a good idea to filter the websites that employees are allowed to access? This question raises huge amounts of controversy. If people can access any sites they want from the office, they might waste time, annoy other employees, and download malware. A managed service can set up filters to block sites selectively.

On the other hand, restricting their access conveys a message that you don’t trust employees to act responsibly, and it might stop them from accessing information they need. Social media and video sites may seem like time-wasters, but sometimes that’s where the information needed for a work-related task is.

The most important rule is to tell employees up front what you’re doing. If you set up filtering to block some sites, tell them so before activating the filter. Explain why you’re doing it, avoiding unnecessary accusations. Provide a way they can get at the information they need when it’s necessary.

It might be better to publish an acceptable use policy without blocking any access. Explain the reasons and what employees should do if they need an exception. If you monitor Web access, say in plain terms that you’re doing that. The worst case is for employees to find you’re "spying" on their Web usage without having told them.

There’s a different kind of filtering which is very desirable, though, and has nothing to do with controlling employee behavior. This kind uses a regularly updated list of malicious websites to prevent people from innocently exposing their computers to attacks. This is something you should have for every computer, even (or especially) the CEO’s machine.

It’s not just disreputable websites that can cause concern. Attackers can compromise legitimate sites, using them to distribute malware. Filtering services try to catch these sites and list them till the problem is fixed. Getting blacklisted is sometimes the first warning a site owner gets that there’s trouble.

Internet filtering is among the many managed IT services which Onsite Techs offers. To learn how we can make your computer systems safer and more reliable, please contact us.