Part 3 of 9 - Content Filtering

How To Secure Your SMB Network – Part 3 of 9 – Content Filtering

Philip Banks Security 5 Comments

Welcome to How To Secure Your SMB Network! This is part 3 of a 9 part series that discusses our approach to Network Security and how we secure client networks. As you will see there are many facets that go into creating a secure network. Think of it as puzzle with each piece playing an important role. The days of installing Norton Anti-Virus on your computer and thinking you are safe are over.

What is Content Filtering

Content Filtering is the process of screening or restricting information that a computer or user is allowed to access on a network. This can be as simple as blocking broad categories of websites, such as pornographic or violence oriented content. Going further, Content Filtering can be used to block things such as pop-ups, advertisements, URL redirects, cookies and even Flash or Java based content.

URL Filtering is simply allowing or denying access based on the URL or origin of the requested content. This can be used to block specific websites that an organization does not want it’s employees accessing, such as monster.com or facebook.com. Instead of filtering based on broad categories, this is a granular approach to filtering. Many URL filtering services include dynamic block lists which will prevent access to websites that are known security threats. This can greatly reduce the risk from zero-day threats which are so new that most anti-virus software is not yet aware of them.

How Does Content Filtering Work

Content Filtering is an involved process that inspects incoming data. Every bit of data is inspected and compared to a database of rules, then it is either allowed to enter the network or thrown out. If Adobe Flash content is blocked by the Content Filtering rules, it will be identified during the inspection process and not allowed to enter the network. Depending on your organization’s bandwidth, Content Filtering can require quite a bit of processing power.

How Does URL Filtering Work

URL Filtering is very straightforward, it simply compares the origin of the data to a database of blocked locations. If the data is coming from a matching URL, it is thrown out before it enters your network. Some URL Filtering services will even toss out outbound requests that match blocking rules. This is valuable because it doesn’t clog up your bandwidth with data that is eventually going to be thrown out and not allowed to enter the local network. It can also stop some Malware threats that rely on outbound traffic to request a payload.

What to look for in Content Filtering

Oftentimes, the size of your organization will determine the best course of action when it comes to Content and URL Filtering. If you have a large organization, you will likely want a Cloud filtering service or a Hardware/Appliance filtering device. Cloud filtering does a great job at keeping unwanted traffic out of your network. Since the processing takes place in the cloud, the content never enters your network, or uses your bandwidth. Hardware or Appliance Filtering devices are placed on the edge of your network and keep unwanted traffic from entering your local network.

How To Secure Your SMB Network – E-Book

How to Secure Your SMB NetworkThis is the third part of a nine part series that details How To Secure Your SMB Network. Every Wednesday we will post a new section that gives details and examples on how Banks Technology Services secures out client’s networks. We have compiled all of this information into into an EBook which you can download for free. The E-Book contains additional information, real world examples, and is updated as new technology emerges. To receive your FREE copy, head on over to the How To Secure Your SMB Network page.

 

 

 

 

How To Secure Your SMB Network Blog Series

Part 1 – Network Security Principles
Part 2 – UTM Gateyway
Part 3 – Content Filtering
Part 4 – Software Restriction Policies
Part 5 – Spam Filtering
Part 6 – Endpoint Security
Part 7 – Patching
Part 8 – Administrative Rights
Part 9 – Conclusion
Philip BanksHow To Secure Your SMB Network – Part 3 of 9 – Content Filtering