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What is content filtering and what are the different types?

August 19th, 2022 | 4 min. read

By Jordan Pioth

Computer and globe graphic

The internet can be a dangerous place when too much access is granted.

Computer viruses, data breaches, and cyber-attacks are all common consequences if you are not careful on the internet and if that happens within your workplace, chances are someone could have access to your company’s important data.

Without content filtering, you can create one of these outcomes with one click on the wrong website. If you click on a link from a phishing email that you didn’t realize was malicious, you could give yourself a virus.

Content filtering could block the link to the malicious website by not allowing you to even access it. With content filtering, you can prevent this outcome from happening to your network.

Additionally, it's hard to get work done around the office when your employees are watching Netflix from 9-5.

Whether it be as important as preventing cyber-attacks or as simple as preventing your employees from watching Netflix on the job, content filtering could be of good use to you.

Here at Coeo, we pride ourselves on giving our audience information on all things telecommunications. Educating our future and current customers is always a goal of ours.

By the end of this article, you will know what content filtering is, 3 different types of content filtering, and the ways to implement content filtering into your network.

What is content filtering?

Content filtering is the process that manages and screens access to web pages or other content.

Though content filtering can be used by home computer users, it is usually used by organizations to protect their network.

Content filtering can be implemented as either hardware or software but is most times built into an existing firewall. It can be the filtering of URLs, IP addresses, or documents.

URL filtering

A URL is a web address given to any website. Every webpage or website has a URL and you can block websites based on their web address.

URL filtering can be grouped into two main groups; reputation and category.

Reputation-based URL filtering

Filtering URLs by reputation blocks URLs based on what the URL is known for. Reputation filtering would allow you to have access to Netflix because it is a website that has a trusted reputation.

Since Netflix doesn’t collect personal information, host viruses, and doesn’t install malware on websites, it has a good reputation. Because of this, reputation filtering would allow Netflix to go through unblocked.

Category-based URL filtering

Category-based filtering blocks websites based on one specific category. If you would want to block all recreational sites you can do so.

If you choose to block all media streaming services, it would block Netflix because it is categorized as a media streaming service.

IP address filtering

Of course, IP address filtering is the filtering blocking of certain IP addresses that could pose threats to your company. But what does that mean and how does it work?

Before we get into IP address filtering, let’s first explain what an IP address is. An IP address is a numerical label that is assigned to pretty much anything connected to the internet whether it be computers, routers, servers, or websites.

You can filter any IP address whether it be a website or an appliance that could be connected to the internet.

If you recognize a website that may be a virus, you can block it. While on the other hand, if you discover that a computer already has a virus on it, you can block that computer to stop the spread of the virus to other computers in your network.

Document filtering

Document filtering prevents important documents such as contracts and legal documents from being accessed by the wrong people. Whether it be outside sources or other employees, keeping these documents safe should be a priority.

The last way you can filter content is by filtering documents. Every organization has important documents in its system that should be kept private.

This blocks certain documents from certain users to ensure that your important legal documents and contracts do not fall into the wrong hands.

Implementing content filtering into my network

Content filtering is typically integrated into your firewall. Whoever manages your firewall, whether it be you or an outsourced organization will be in charge of filtering out the content.

If you have a firewall that you manage then you will be in charge of controlling the content that is and isn't filtered. On the other hand, if you have a managed firewall outsourced by someone else, they are doing the content filtering for you.

However, if you only have content filtering implemented into your firewall in the office, your computer could be at risk when you leave the office when you work from home or anywhere else.

If you or your employees regularly work remotely, you could be vulnerable to malicious sites or attacks. Secure Access Service Edge, or SASE, could prevent this from happening.

SASE is a cybersecurity network that combines a WAN or wide area network and a security system into one cloud-based system.

SASE will protect your network from threats when you are not at the office.

Next steps to filtering content for your network

By now you know what content filtering is and the different ways that you can filter content. This will help you to filter out websites that can contain viruses and malware and keep important documents out of the wrong hands.

Nobody wants to be a victim of a cyber-attack or a data breach and filtering out content could be an easy way to help prevent these attacks. Cyber-attacks result in millions of dollars worth of repair and you don’t want to be a victim of them.

Here at Coeo, we pride ourselves on educating future and current customers on all things telecommunications related. If you’d like to speak to an expert representative to chat about the ways you can secure your network by filtering content, you can connect with our sales team.

If you would like to speak with our team to learn more about content filtering or ask any questions you may have you can schedule an appointment. TALK TO AN EXPERT

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Jordan Pioth

When he's not creating content for Coeo, Jordan loves to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, and anything sneaker-related.