There is a couple of commonly deployed software for almost all businesses, and web filtering is one of them. Now that the workforce is mobile, it is more important than ever to have robust security technologies working for you.

Companies have not just in-house employees; they also have freelancers and contractors that will access the data and network sporadically for short periods. Some companies send out devices pre-loaded with software and security, while others promote a BYOD program.

While the bring-your-own-device program is excellent in terms of money-saving for the business, it does mean there is less control over how a person uses their device.

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Deploying web filters is one of the ways that you can increase security.

What is a Cloud Web Filter?

A web filter acts just as you think it might from the name. A web filter is software that restricts users from accessing things that are either counterproductive to their work and may reduce performance or websites that may be deemed harmful.

Cloud web filtering works through set parameters which restrict or allow users to access apps, websites, and more. Websites and safe communications will be placed on the whitelist, and the rest will go to a blacklist.

How Does the Blocklist Work on a Cloud Web filter?

A blocklist filter will use parameters set by management to restrict sites that don’t meet the criteria for access. Filters can be created based on website quality, rating, keywords, or URLs. Where websites are deemed time-wasters (social media, for example), unsafe, or unsuitable for work, they will be restricted. Keyword filters, in particular, will do a live review of the website and decide on blocking based on what it finds.

The most often banned websites are those that are deemed violent, adult, or it may include gambling websites. These filters can be altered to meet the company’s requirements.

It is essential to know that web filters have evolved and now work based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Web filter administrators can tweak and adjust based on what the cloud web filter has learned.

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Can Cloud Web Filters Increase Productivity?

While the main point of a web filter is to offer some security and safety for users, they are ideal and improve workers’ performance. Studies show that worker productivity increases when websites like Facebook, Instagram, and other similar social media websites are blocked.

Without the ability to surf these websites, workers stay on track more quickly.

Employees are more likely to stay on task when there are fewer distractions, and it’s not just social media websites that can be tempting. Forums like Reddit and content-sharing websites like Imgur also pose an issue too.

There must be a balance between protecting the work networks and trusting employees to stay on task. However, when much of the modern-world temptations are removed, your team will likely remain on task.

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What are the Advantages of Using a Cloud Web Filter?

Cloud web filters often become part of a larger security framework for businesses. To ensure that it works as you hope, you must talk with the company you get your software from and have the parameters set and optimized.

Data leak

Filtering is ideal for preventing users from uploading and sharing restricted or sensitive data without the correct permission. In many cases, IT staff will implement blocked physical ports – but that is just a small barrier when it comes to uploading data to places where it shouldn’t be. A network with web filters with the right features can filter out file-sending applications.

Malware and Cyber-attacks

Most browsers now have some level of security against malware and will issue users warnings before they visit the website in question. However, cloud web filters go further than that initial notification. They will run a live check on the website’s content and block it based on the information it receives.

Having a web filter in place significantly reduces the likelihood of malware or cyber-attack. When combined with other cyber security solutions like a ZTNA, for example, this offers a robust set of protective methods.


While we would like our employees never to act out of malice or mean harm to our businesses, this is not always the case. Many employees may accidentally access something that would mean it is going against the company’s rules.

Misconduct could cover things like explicit materials, phobic sites, or other websites that are not acceptable in the workplace – a web browser filter is not enough to handle these.

There are also some websites that, while not always malicious, might have different levels of humor that some employees would be offended by – and this can result in friction in the workplace.


Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of cloud web filters is that companies who have them in place typically see an increase in the productivity of their staff. Broad blocking can be destructive, so it is more effective to highlight websites that are known for impacting productivity.

A granular approach is more beneficial here to optimize the productivity of your team and the parameters in which the web filter works.

Modern web filtering comes with many options and can be adapted to the company’s exact requirements.


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