Content filtering is a major consideration when applying best practices to any network infrastructure. For major businesses that are publicly traded and may have several dozen, or even several hundred employees content filtering is mandatory to be in compliance with certain regulations. While there may not be as many regulatory considerations, content filtering can still be of terrific benefit to smaller organizations.
There are two main benefits of content filtering.
- Preventing employees from accessing inappropriate material from their desks, using company equipment. Perhaps to a lesser extent an employer may also wish to prevent employees from accessing chat programs, games, and other distracting web-based pass times.
- Somewhat related to the above, is conservation of bandwidth and network resources.
Every little widget run by an employee uses up a certain amount of the available network resources. So every open instance of a streaming radio player, every video stream being viewed, and every Internet game being played will cause Internet and network responsiveness to be slowed incrementally. This does not even begin to cover potential exposure to malicious software, viruses, and Internet scams that could make your company information vulnerable to intrusion.
Below is a breakdown of hits on a firewall provided by sonic wall and managed by Sada through our N-Sight managed services solution. Each hit represents activity from inside the firewall.
Note: The results below reflect typical results prior to implementing content filtering
Rank Site Hits
1 x.myspace.com 7494
2 n-sight.sadasystems.com 6813
3 www.necelam.com 6594
4 www.zappos.com 5184
5 i.myspace.com 4321
6 www.sadasendit.com 3034
7 www.neimanmarcus.com 2956
8 www.champcarworldseries.com 2901
9 www.evite.com 2871
10 www.questionpro.com 2838
11 www.kodakgallery.com 2627
12 www.epicurious.com 2446
13 a1216.g.akamai.net 2427
14 www.msnbc.msn.com 2421
15 220.127.116.11 2392
16 hasbro.com 2315
17 www.urbanoutfitters.com 2180
19 rad.msn.com 2142
20 www.staples.com 2113
21 www.thepaintedturtle.org 2063
22 re.thepaintedturtle.org 2030
23 cdn.mapquest.com 2024
24 msnbcmedia.msn.com 2020
25 images.amazon.com 2009
It is apparent from these results that blocking access to certain sites would open up a significant amount of bandwidth. Blocking sites such as MySpace, Neiman Marcus, and Evite could potentially produce a higher level of productivity in company employees. Productivity that would otherwise be lost to ‘killing time’ on the Internet.