Web Security

The Top 11 Web Content Filtering Solutions For Business

Web content filtering allows you to keep accounts safe from dangerous and explicit online content. We explore the top solutions and their key features, allowing you to find the best solution for your unique use-case.

The Top 11 Web Content Filtering Solutions Include:
  • 1. Barracuda Web Security Gateway
  • 2. Broadcom Symantec WebFilter
  • 3. Cisco Umbrella
  • 4. DNSFilter
  • 5. Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway
  • 6. FortiGuard URL Filtering
  • 7. Mimecast Web Security
  • 8. Proofpoint Web Security
  • 9. SonicWall Content Filtering Service (CFS)
  • 10. WebTitan Web Filter
  • 11. Zscaler Internet Access

Web content filtering solutions prevent your network from harmful activity by preventing access to suspicious sites and web pages. This type of solution is capable of blocking specific content within a web page, ensuring that user access is affected as little as possible.

If clicked or downloaded harmful web content may spread harmful malware onto a user’s, leading to breaches, data loss, or ransom demands. Implementing an effective web content filtering solution can help to identify risky content and protect your users. Web content filtering prevents your network from harm by dynamically and strategically filtering out suspicious sites and web pages. The solutions can also block individual content, thereby users safe during their session. 

Content filters will scan all content that you try to access, looking for any common indicators that a site is dangerous. They can also cross check with databases to understand if other users have reported any problems with particular content. If content is deemed to be suspicious, the platform can provide a warning notification explaining the dangers and asking the user if they wish to continue. Some web content filtering tools also offer sandboxing capabilities to download a risky file and understand its behaviour.

In addition to keeping your users secure as they access the web, web content filtering is critical in maintaining your brand image and credibility. Web content filtering is important in ensuring that Not Safe For Work (NSFW) websites, such as gambling, pornography, firearm sites, aren’t accessible from your company devices and network.

Barracuda Logo

Barracuda Web Security Gateway offers a versatile web security platform with content filtering capabilities. The platform enables safe internet browsing, protects against web-borne malware and viruses, and helps manage bandwidth usage, while maintaining optimal productivity levels.

The Barracuda Web Security Gateway includes a range of features including granular policies and the ability to control access to websites, applications, and web 2.0 platforms based on user, group, bandwidth, and time of access. It also offers robust protection against spyware, malware, and viruses, combined with additional features such as social network regulation, remote filtering for off-site users, and visibility into SSL-encrypted traffic. The built-in SSL-filtering capabilities allow admins to enforce necessary policies on social media and search platforms.

Utilizing intelligence and blocklists from thousands of Barracuda data points worldwide, the platform provides rapid protection against various web-borne threats. This continuous threat intelligence feed helps block known and unknown spyware downloads, viruses, and malicious site access requests. The platform offers a centralized dashboard with integrated reporting for enhanced network visibility, enabling admins to identify threats and develop targeted policies. Barracuda Web Security Gateway can be used alongside the Barracuda Reporting Server for unified reporting and customizable report generation. This web security platform is suitable for SMBs and is also available as a virtual appliance.

Symantec Logo

Broadcom>Symantec WebFilter is a cybersecurity solution specializing in blocking malware downloads and web threats. It is a vital component of the Symantec Cloud Secure Web Gateway (SWG) and combines URL filtering with anti-malware technology as a collaborative defense. The WebFilter is continuously updated by the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, providing reputation and web content analysis from over 15,000 enterprise customers.

The WebFilter efficiently blocks malware, phishing attempts, malicious software updates, botnets, and other attacks. Its powerful Dynamic Link Analysis (DLA) allows users to access popular websites without over-blocking, thus maintaining productivity. The cloud-based nature of the WebFilter eliminates the need for constant updates and patching, as these are automatically managed. The product is ideal for large organizations with the technical resources to manage it properly.

In offering advanced web filtering capabilities, Symantec WebFilter utilizes the Global Intelligence Network’s cloud awareness, thereby offering immediate protection and up-to-date ratings. The network’s DLA architecture includes several components, such as a cloud-connected user community, real-time cloud analysis, and comprehensive database. Users can extend the WebFilter’s functionality with Symantec Reporter for enhanced visibility and governance verification of web filtering policies.

Cisco Logo

Cisco Umbrella is a cloud-native web security and SASE solution developed by Cisco, a market leader known for its extensive range of products and technical capabilities. Cisco Umbrella provides a wide array of web and network security features, including robust web content filtering to ensure consistency in internal policies and appropriate web usage. Admins can easily manage web access through category-based web content filtering, custom “Allow” and “Block” lists, and SafeSearch browsing enforcement.

With over 80 content categories covering millions of domains and billions of web pages, Cisco Umbrella offers granular control, allowing admins to set varying risk levels and create custom content lists. Block bypass features enable specific authorized users to access filtered categories or domains for work-related purposes. Location-sensitive enforcement allows users to be assigned varying internet restrictions and login settings depending on their location and network connection.

Cisco Umbrella’s Secure Web Gateway (SWG) functionality provides a cloud-native, full proxy that efficiently logs, inspects, and controls web traffic for increased control, transparency, and protection. As part of a Security Service Edge (SSE) architecture that includes Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), cloud access security broker (CASB), and DNS-layer security, Cisco Umbrella’s SWG is designed to deliver secure connectivity for modern hybrid workplaces and remote workers. The integrated secure web gateway offers full visibility, anti-virus and advanced malware protection, sandboxing, decryption, content control, and granular app activity controls in one user-friendly interface.

DNS Filter Logo

DNSFilter is a content filtering and threat protection software designed for MSP partners, mid-sized businesses, and enterprises. It improves internet browsing safety by blocking malicious content in real-time and providing valuable visibility for IT teams. The software enables users to block 36 content categories, eight threat categories, ads, and trackers quickly and easily. It d can be deployed either agentless or on individual devices for more detailed tracking, reporting, and policy creation.

DNSFilter operates using the DNS protocol, which manages domain-name requests. These requests are sent to DNSFilter servers, where they are compared against threat feeds and user policy settings. If a request is destined for a blocked or malicious domain, the user is redirected, ensuring unwanted activity is stopped at the root.

DNSFilter’s features include content filtering, threat protection, detailed reporting and multi-lingual support. DNSFilter leverages comprehensive threat intelligence maintained through community threat feeds, government threat data, and data exchange partnerships.

DNSFilter is used by various organizations that require protection and filtering from internet threats, ranging from small businesses to large corporations. It aims to help businesses prevent new threats, neutralize existing issues, and block access to time-wasting and bandwidth-intensive sites. DNSFilter comes with an easy-to-use dashboard, backed by a global network of fast DNS servers.

DNS Filter Logo
Forcepoint Logo

Forcepoint Secure Web Gateway (SWG) offers businesses a way to securely access websites and download documents while maintaining high-speed performance. With integration options such as Remote Browser Isolation (RBI) and Zero Trust Content Disarm & Reconstruction (CDR), Forcepoint SWG goes beyond simply categorizing web access as safe or bad, providing a more secure browsing experience.

One unique feature of Forcepoint SWG is its distributed architecture which allows for a hyper-scalable cloud infrastructure and eliminates chokepoints by enforcing security policies locally on the user’s device. This system grants twice the throughput for performance-sensitive web content and applications compared to competing SWGs. Additionally, the SWG in Forcepoint ONE allows organizations to block or allow access to nonproductive or inappropriate websites based on user group, location, URL category, and other factors. This ensures compliance with the organization’s Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).

Forcepoint SWG also helps in preventing the uploading of sensitive data to unsanctioned websites, blocking web-borne malware, and detecting shadow IT. It also respects user privacy by preventing decryption and inspection of traffic to specific website categories containing personally identifiable information (PII). By integrating SWG as part of the Forcepoint ONE platform, businesses can maintain a balance between web security, user productivity, and performance.

Forcepoint Logo
fortinet logo

FortiGuard offers an AI-powered security suite designed to protect application content, web traffic, devices, and users in various locations. Integrated into the Fortinet Security Fabric, it continuously assesses risks and automatically responds to both known and unknown threats across distributed networks. FortiGuard Labs experts actively work to enhance the suite’s static analysis capabilities using AI and machine learning.

FortiGuard’s cloud-based URL filtering service delivers extensive threat protection against a variety of web threats, such as ransomware, credential theft, and phishing attacks. By leveraging AI-driven behavioral analysis and threat correlation, the service instantly blocks malicious URLs and provides granular blocking and filtering for web and video categories. The suite offers features like DNS filtering and protection against sophisticated DNS-based threats, antispam capabilities, and an intrusion prevention system.

Additional features in the FortiGuard suite include AI-based inline malware prevention, data loss prevention, CASB security service for securing SaaS applications, mobile malware protection, and content security. FortiGuard offers protection for OT security, helps reduce the attack surface through its Attack Surface Security Service, and monitors networks with its Indicators of Compromise and Outbreak Detection system.

FortiGuard is an AI-powered security solution that provides coordinated detection and enforcement across your organization’s attack surface. Its wide variety of features aim to protect against web-based threats, ensuring comprehensive security for your organization’s data and users.

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Mimecast Logo

Mimecast’s Web Security platform offers comprehensive web security capabilities through an integrated security solution. The platform uses a dynamic proxy to inspect content and file downloads, while its filtering solution provides anti-virus, URL categorization, static file analysis, and SSL inspection to protect organizations from harm.

The platform is effective in defending against web threats such as malware and phishing attacks. Mimecast Web Security also prevents unauthorized and uncontrolled use of cloud applications, reducing the risk of shadow IT. The solution allows administrators to apply web content filtering policies to all devices on and off the network, ensuring protection for remote and mobile workers.

Mimecast Web Security is managed from a centralized console that offers clear visibility and extensive reporting capabilities, with simplified visualizations of key metrics. This makes it an accessible solution providing far-reaching protection and allowing for flexible, granular controls. Mimecast Web Security is suitable for both SMBs and enterprises, with its combined email security offering a comprehensive defense against evolving cyber threats.

Proofpoint Logo

Proofpoint, founded in 2002 and based in Sunnyvale, California, is a leading cybersecurity company offering a diverse range of solutions, including the cloud-based Proofpoint Web Security platform. This platform provides advanced threat protection, data loss prevention, and dynamic access controls, making it an efficient solution for reducing web-borne threats. It can be easily integrated with Meta ZTNA, Windows, Mac OS, SIEM, and SSO authentication tools, allowing for seamless compatibility with a variety of security stacks.

The Proofpoint Web Security platform aims to shield users from web-based threats by using a combination of multiple filtering techniques, such as domain, URL, IP, and category-based filtering, to identify and block malicious or risky content. Admins have extensive and granular access control, ensuring that users are redirected to a customizable block page when trying to access dangerous content. Web content filtering is further enhanced with web isolation, in-line SaaS discovery, and application control features, while signature-based detection and a real-time sandbox help ensure protection against known and unknown threats.

The platform is not only robust in terms of security, but it is also adaptive and scalable, offering remote management capabilities for admin teams. Proofpoint Web Security is suitable for organizations of all sizes and industries and is works particularly well with organizations that already use Proofpoint tools.

Sonicwall Logo

Founded in 1991 and headquartered in San Jose, California, SonicWall bring us SonicWall Content Filtering Service (CFS). SonicWall CFS is an appliance-based gateway security and content filtering solution that combines real-time antivirus capabilities, intrusion prevention features, and anti-spyware. It offers world-class prevention from threats while not impeding your employees’ productivity. SonicWall’s CFS leverages a large cloud database that covers millions of URLs, IP addresses, and websites that have been identified as harmful or risky. Admins have extensive granular controls, with the ability to apply block and access policies for certain sites based on over 50 predefined categories that include individual users, user groups, job and role.

Reporting and insight into user activity is extensive, with admins able to analyze user activity and websites history through the SonicWall Capture Security Center. This center also allows real-time admin access to web activity and client reporting data. Content filtering categories are extensive – ranging from offensive, to multimedia, freeware, and software downloads. Harmful, risky, or unwanted sites can be blocked quickly and easily through the platform’s effective web caching and rating tools. This tool sits behind the firewall, and can scan, categorize, and block webpages in real-time.

SonicWall CFS has been commended for its ease of use when onboarding, and its overall stability and robustness as a product that is manageable at a small scale. The company is also praised for its strong levels of customer support, and the App Control interface. As such, we would recommend it for small to medium sized businesses.

WebTitan Logo

WebTitan is a web security platform developed by TitanHQ that offers a DNS security solution with advanced filtering controls. Designed to provide extensive protection from cybersecurity threats, WebTitan uses AI and machine learning for real-time detection and blocking of malicious or risky content. The platform is API-driven, allowing for remote management and monitoring, and has access to a global threat intelligence database for real-time updates on emerging threats.

The solution offers comprehensive reporting, including interactive reports and data visualization for user behavior, block lists, trends, and overall security health. It effectively prevents phishing through AI-powered protection against known and emerging phishing URLs, helping to safeguard against business email compromise (BEC) and email account compromise. WebTitan employs DNSSEC to strengthen authentication through digital signatures and public key cryptography.

Administrators can easily compile and export DNS history lists in various file formats, thanks to the platform’s data offload capabilities. WebTitan is known for its ease of use, intuitive interface, consolidated dashboard, and responsive support, making it suitable for enterprises and managed service providers (MSPs). It’s a powerful solution capable of handling any volume of usage without latency, ensuring a secure browsing environment for users.

Zscaler logo

Zscaler Internet Access (ZIA) is a cloud-native zero trust platform that offers safe and fast internet access for businesses along with Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) accessibility. It aims to prevent cyberattacks and data loss and is part of the comprehensive Zscaler Zero Trust Exchange. This platform verifies user and device identities to secure connections to SaaS and the internet.

ZIA’s cyber protection capabilities use a centralized policy and reporting engine to prevent compromise from ransomware, malware, and other advanced attacks with AI-powered threat protection. It also detects and prevents phishing and employs Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) technology to guard against botnets, advanced threats, and zero days. In addition, ZIA’s AI-powered browser isolation prevents web-based attacks and data loss while ensuring user productivity.

ZIA offers comprehensive data protection across numerous channels, such as Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), web and email Data Loss Prevention (DLP), and endpoint protection to secure cloud apps and prevent data loss. With an integrated set of access control services, it provides fast connectivity to distributed resources and supports functionality such as URL filtering, firewall, bandwidth Quality of Service (QoS), DNS security, tenancy restrictions, and adaptive access. Overall, Zscaler Internet Access delivers security and seamless access for companies while minimizing the risk of cyberattacks and data loss.

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The Top 11 Web Content Filtering Solutions For Business