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How To Block Websites From Your Employees

Steven Hansen

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Why Should You Monitor Employee Activity?

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Now, why should you block websites from employees in the first place? In any business, time is money. In each second of the working hours, the employees have to work towards getting things done to keep things running smoothly. You want to make sure that they are doing their jobs and not wasting time.

Allowing complete access to everything online brings certain risks too. An employee can easily use the company’s network for illegal activities. This could result in legal complications and in many cases, the business itself will be held liable and not just the employee. Surfing the web freely increases the chance of encountering malware. The employee might inadvertently download malware, infecting the whole system and compromising the important data stored in it.

Letting your employees know that you trust them can be a key factor when it comes to them committing their sincere efforts to their work. But to a business, there is simply no room for error. And a single mistake can affect its growth and compromise its credibility. So it’s just safer to enforce usage policies and to block certain websites at work.

There are a few ways you can do this:

1. Using a Physical Device

The first method is by using a physical appliance and routing all internet traffic through it. This can be set to filter the IP addresses of the websites you need to block. Now, this might seem simple but it has certain drawbacks. First of all these appliances can be expensive. For small to medium-sized businesses, this could be a problem.

2. Scalability Issues

Scalability is another issue with these appliances. For any business to succeed, it has to look at the short-term and long-term goals practically. So when the business develops and more employees are hired, more computers would need to have access to the internet and would need to be filtered. To make this happen you would need to upgrade the existing devices, which can be expensive.

3. Security Issues

When you use an appliance, the filtering is done within the appliance itself. This means that you have to access and download the content before the device blocks it. This way, the system has to first make a connection with the website, which might be malicious and dangerous to access.

4. Bandwidth Usage

Since the appliance downloads all the content before blocking, it uses more bandwidth. All this is too much hassle for practically running a business.

5. Browser Extensions

Browser extensions are a simple and free way to block websites at work. You just have to download and install a plugin and specify which websites you want to block. It can block specific website URLs or links containing certain words, which are common with adult sites. Here the filtering takes place within the internet browser. This eliminates the need to download the data before blocking it and this reduces the usage of bandwidth. However, this is not a fool-proof solution. You can simply download a different browser and access any site from the same computer.

6. DNS Filtering

If you only need to block websites, DNS filtering might be the solution for you. DNS stands for Domain Name System. DNS is what allows us to use domain names that are easy to remember. When a domain name is purchased and hosted, it will be allotted an IP address which will look something like 103.92.67.90. This would generally be a pain to remember for a normal user. DNS translates this into addresses made up of words that we can understand.

While appliances and browser extensions allow you to block specific website addresses, DNS works in a much more practical way. It is impossible to dial in each and every website to block because there are just too many out there. This is where DNS filtering is effective. It has content-based filtering systems that can filter out websites that are known to be malicious or Not Safe for Work (NSFW). Since the process of filtering happens at the DNS level, it is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses where resources might be limited.

Most websites today are SSL enabled, which means that the system has to decrypt the encrypted data, inspect it and again re-encrypt it. This requires a lot of processing power which can cause slowdowns when the usage is heavy. Here, a cloud-based DNS system comes in handy because the service provider takes care of the processing which eliminates slowdowns regardless of the volume of traffic. Scalability is not an issue because there is no physical appliance, and upgrades do not require any changes in the hardware, and the software upgrades are relatively inexpensive.

So Is DNS Filtering A Perfect Solution?

Unfortunately, the answer is no. For a content-based DNS filter to be effective, the website has to first be deemed as malicious. It is easy to access websites by using proxy servers and VPNs.

Employee Monitoring Software

Using Employee Monitoring Software is the most efficient way of filtering websites for businesses. They offer a whole array of features that you can use such as:

Blocking websites

– Monitoring employee activity

– Keystroke Logging

– Monitoring the time spent on a particular website and

– Recording the operations done through the File Transfer Protocol

Why You Should Use Monitoring Software?

Increasing productivity is the motive of monitoring employee activity. Blocking website access can limit employees from using certain websites, but that is just not enough. There is always a workaround to it and there are plenty of websites out there that the employer might not even know about. This is where Monitoring Software comes in. The software monitors everything done on the computer. It records each and every keystroke and mouse click, ensuring transparency.

The time an employee spends on each website or software can be monitored and this can show us where things are working according to plan, and where time is being wasted. Above all, the monitored data can be stored on a cloud server and can be accessed remotely by the managers or business owners easily.

Steven is a founder of Techeries.com. He is a specialist in digital security solution business design and development, virtualization and cloud computing R&D projects, establishment and management of software research direction. He loves writing about Cloud Computing, Data Management, and Cyber Security.

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