We at KDI make a product called the NetSentron. It’s many things in one: firewall, network management toolkit, and true Internet content filter. If you were to buy these things from another company, you’d probably have to get each of them separately and that would be very expensive.
Most people have figured out that they need a firewall. The content filter they’re typically not sure about. Especially if it’s for a business, a regular joe senior manager who isn’t in the IT field doesn’t get why their firm needs a Web content filter. School administrators are usually pretty certain they need one, but they envision a straightforward, old-school URL-blocker. Just stop playboy.com and that’s good enough for me.
Here’s why True Web content filtering matters, both to schools and businesses:
Because blocking only the sites the content filter knows about isn’t effective.
People who want to see inappropriate sites are going to find a way around the URL blocker, such as going in through a Google search, mirror site or simply finding a similar site that’s not included in the filter’s list. Even if, as is usually the case with schools, Web surfers aren’t actively looking for non-authorized websites, anything that meets their search criteria and isn’t included on the URL list is going to be shown to them–good or bad.
A true content filter, on the other hand, actively checks the content of websites that could appear through a search or are attempting to be accessed by directly typing in the address. If designated words are found in the content, the true content filter can quickly determine whether the site should be shown to the Internet user or not—no matter whether it’s included on a URL list or not.
Combined with bandwidth monitoring, a true content filter is the alternative that gives the administrator a very effective tool to stop students and employees from getting into trouble, and keep the network’s traffic pipe clear for proper use.
Imagine a classroom or a boardroom. Students or executives are ready to watch an instructional video. The video takes up quite a bit of the network’s bandwidth, so it’s important to keep that pipe as clear as possible. Otherwise, the video will stop and start like hiccups, irritating people and making learning impossible.
Now imagine that in the back of the room, a couple students are playing an online game, or a bored executive is watching a streaming sports video feed. Both these activities take up a great deal of bandwidth, making watching the instructional video very difficult for everyone else.
If the administrator was using a bandwidth monitor, she would see the spike in usage and which computer was responsible for it. After identifying the feed as inappropriate, she could effortlessly block access to that site—and, with a true content filter, block similar sites that the content filter had never encountered before. The students or executives could now enjoy the instructional video and remain focused.
True content filtering matters, not just to schools but to businesses also. If you’re interested in learning more, check out the free .pdf reports here.
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