Pearl Software Blog

Internet Monitoring and Web Filtering Topics

Bad Things That Happen Without Web Monitoring Software

Today, most businesses rely on having fairly unrestricted access to the Internet as a tool in bottom-line productivity. Without balancing that unrestricted access with the use of web monitoring software for employee computer and network users, the bottom line benefits to open access quickly erode. Here are some of the things that can happen without web monitoring and filtering software that lead to costs that outweigh the benefits of open access.

Web monitoring software for your business is actually about safeguarding your network, assets, investment and reputation. One of the chief ways that businesses can get burned without web monitoring software is by having a compromised network where data loss will likely occur.

When employees access compromised sites or download infected files, they can compromise the network and put proprietary data at risk. Even one computer that is infected with malware, toolbars, adware, and other “add-ons” can spread throughout the network and cause system instability. Once inside a network, worms can spread fast, and that one user’s misstep on the web impacts everyone and the daily operations of the business. The cost in time and money to get things back on track is always more than any business wants to expend. More...

Web Filtering: Choke-Point vs. Endpoint

There are generally two main enterprise architectures used to monitor and/or filter access to content available on the Internet: Choke-Point (web proxy, router, firewall, etc.) and Endpoint (client-server). Each has its advantages and disadvantages that we will explore.

Choke-Point Architecture

The Choke-Point architecture provides a central point of access to the Internet for all users.  The Choke-Point is normally a server, firewall or router with embedded filtering software or one or more “Internet appliances” – stand-alone devices for targeted applications.  Websense is an example of a caching Web proxy server that provides a nearby store of Web pages and files originating on remote Web servers, allowing local network clients to access them more efficiently.  When it receives a request for a Web page, a caching proxy looks for the content in its local cache. If the content does not exist in the proxy’s cache, the proxy server retrieves it from the appropriate Internet server in order to satisfy the request and saves a copy in its local cache for future requests. Sonicwall and Watchguard are examples of firewalls with embedded filtering software; usually third party URL filtering databases.  Since requests to access Internet sites are sent from each workstation in the managed environment, a decision about whether the site may be accessed can be made centrally at the Choke-Point. If a user requests a site that is determined to be off limits, the server or device returns a response to the user indicating that access is denied. More...