With so much nasty content just begging to get viewed on the Internet, it’s understandable why a content filter needs to be integrated into your company’s web viewing protocol. Still, it should be understood that your content filter isn’t going to keep all questionable content away from prying eyes. Therefore, the only way you can really know with certainty that your Internet users aren’t doing anything sketchy is to actively monitor their activity, and check for any suspicious websites.
You might think that your content filter is more than enough to ensure your business’s Internet traffic stays sketch-free, but the fact of the matter is that your content filter is only good enough to keep out most of the bad stuff. Your organization needs to accept that a user who’s determined to find a way around your content filter will probably do so, and you need to count on that to happen. It’s the only way you can know for certain whether or not questionable content is being accessed on your network.
For example, one of the biggests concerns about web content comes not from the office, but from the homes which have children in them. Some tech-savvy kids are finding ways to bypass the parental controls to view inappropriate content. Net Nanny cites a survey where “30 percent of teenagers admitted that they know how to delete their browsing history,” and “12 percent of teenagers have deleted their browsing history in the past year.”
Of course, there’s a difference between deleting the browsing history and bypassing a content filter. The issue here lies in the fact that a user who continuously deletes their browsing history probably has something to hide. This naturally makes parents suspicious, leading them to integrate content filters in order to keep their children from viewing inappropriate or unsafe content. The survey cites, “Of parents that had content filters on their computer, 24 percent believe that their children could access blocked content.”
While parents want to believe their kids are little angels who would never view adult content, it’s been proven that for many children, their first exposure to pornographic material happens at a very early age. Ernie Allen, former president and CEO of the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children, presented findings last July to the National Center on Sexual Exploitation that, “The average age of first porn exposure is 12 years old, and that ‘fully’ a third of 10-year-olds and 53 percent of 12 to 15-year-olds access pornographic content.”
Similarly, you might feel like you don’t need to worry about your employees (who are grown adults) viewing adult material while in the office. Sadly, this also isn’t the case. You’d be surprised by how many adults view vulgar material while on the clock. Consider these statistics from CNBC:
- 70 percent of all online porn access happens during business hours. – Message Labs
- Of 61 million unique U.S. visitors logged into pornographic web sites in March of 2006, every fifth visitor was from an office workstation. – Comscore Media Matrix
- Two-thirds of 474 human resources professionals said in a survey they’ve discovered pornography on employee computers. Nearly half of those, 43 percent, said they had found such material more than once. — AP Wire
- Half of the Fortune 500 companies have dealt with at least one incident related to computer porn over a 12 month period, offenders were fired in 44 percent of the incidents and disciplined in a further 41 percent of cases. – Computerworld
Many of these companies that deal with workers watching porn in the office probably have content filters in place, so this is a testament to the tenacity of the average worker’s pornograhic persistence. Even with measures put into place to prevent this from happening, either the filters aren’t strong enough, or the users are finding ways to bypass these measures.
One way that users might be getting around your content filtering solution is through sheer knowledge of how the filter works. For example, if they know what keywords are flagged in the URL, they can get around it by avoiding these giveaway traits and accessing questionable content on another website. Or, they can use their mobile devices through their service provider to access it, which isn’t subject to your network’s content filtering solution.
Therefore, the best way you can stay on top of eliminating inappropriate content in the office is to integrate a solution that’s more powerful than a simple content filter. Being able to monitor Internet traffic is paramount to this success, so you can keep users accountable for their actions. This includes monitoring activity on sites other than those that contain adult content, including time-wasting social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Buzzfeed, and so on.
In order to arm your business with the comprehensive security solution it needs, contact PACE Technical Services. We can equip your organization with the means to block questionable content and monitor online activity. Give us a call at 905.763.7896 to learn more.