Internet Filtering in the Workplace
No matter where you are, at school, at work, at home, or on any other network, internet filtering is important to block websites and web content that is not appropriate for viewing. First and foremost, internet filtering provides immense improvements in employee productivity.
The internet is a useful, yet distracting tool and filtering software ensures maximum productivity out of employees while they are on the job. Additionally, with fraudulent activities and online crime becoming increasingly prevalent, it is important to restrict web pages that might contain harmful and destructive content for the safety of your employees and your business.
Finally, you may find that too much downloading is increasing the load on your bandwidth. In this case, you can set your filtering software to optimize bandwidth usage by blocking any unwanted downloads on your network. These are just a few of the key reasons internet filtering software is important in any network.
Should you be Filtering Internet Access on Personal Mobile Phones (BYOD)?
A BYOD(“Bring your own device”) workplace can either be beneficial, or very detrimental to a business. The key to unlocking the benefits of your BYOD workplace is the removal of distractions. With the internet readily available on a familiar device, many distracting websites such as social media and games can leave room for lower productivity and time wasted at work.
A study by Ovum noted that this activity would continue regardless of whether a CIO wants it or not, finding that 67.8 per cent of smartphone-owning employees bring their own smartphone to work, and 15.4 per cent of these do so without the IT department’s knowledge and 20.9 per cent do so in spite of an anti-BYOD policy.
Ensuring that proper internet filtering policies are in place is the only way to safeguard against this type of loss.
Luckily, there is a software that will help you fight employee productivity loss with web surfing on their Smartphones on the company’s wireless network.
CurrentWare Gateway is a web filtering Gateway that sits between your Internet and your local area network. You can try out a free fully functional 14 day trial of the software by downloading it from this link – CurrentWare Gateway Free Trial Download.
Setting up the CurrentWare Gateway for Internet Filtering
CurrentWare Gateway is intended to be installed on Windows computer (Windows 8, 8.1, or Server 2012) with two network interface cards(NICs). The Gateway PC will reside between your incoming Internet connection, and the devices you wish to manage on your network.
Connect the Internet source to the first NIC, and the network of managed devices to the second NIC.
How to install CurrentWare Gateway Web Filter
- Run the CurrentWareGateway.exe file on the CurrentWare Gateway computer
- The installer checks if the pre-requisite components are installed and automatically install the missing components.
- Click Install to start the installation of the CurrentWare Gateway
- After the CurrentWare Gateway is installed, The Internet Connection Sharing Wizard will pop up automatically to help you set up for the first time
- After choosing the correct IP addresses, click Enable ICS.
- At the CurrentWare Gateway License Wizard screen, you may enter your product key or select Evaluation to try out Gateway for 14 days with 10 licenses.
Note: In order to identify each wireless device individually in the Gateway console, you must disable DHCP in the router that they are connecting to, and ensure the Ethernet connection is made to the LAN port of that router.
Identifying Employee Smartphones on the Network
As smartphones connect to the wireless network that is provided through the Gateway, you will see a message letting you know that a new device has connected.
After clicking the refresh button, you will see the device populate in the “Root” group.
Enforce internet policies to block internet access on Smartphones
On the Manage page, create a new group that will contain all the smartphones that you want to apply this policy to. Move any device that you require into this group. In the screenshot below, I have named my new group “Smartphones”.
On the Policies page, click “Add Policy”.
Under Policy Name, specify a name for this policy. Ex. “Smartphone Internet Policy”
Select the group you want to apply this policy to.
Select any categories of websites that you want to restrict under this policy by making selections under the “Blocked Categories” section.
Add any websites that you want to block outright to the “Always Block” list.
Add any exceptions that you want to allow to the “Always Allow” list.
Select the restriction level for downloading file types in the file type blocking window.
Save the policy and you’re done!
Any Smartphones that are listed in the group called “Smartphones” will now be restricted by the “Smartphone Internet Policy” that you’ve just created.