Web filtering is a controversial subject. It involves blocking employee access to certain websites through your business devices, and that can cover everything from the NSFW (Not Safe For Work) to the downright distracting, such as Facebook and gaming websites.
Some employees react negatively to the idea of web filtering, and that in itself can put business owners off the idea of implementing it. However, there are still plenty of important reasons why you should.
The internet has allowed people to be more productive than ever – but access to the web is quite the double-edged sword. It’s also a remarkable tool for procrastination. Just think of how many times a day you tend to check social media and how easy it is to get drawn in. Employees can get distracted by so many things on the internet that it only makes sense to block the more notorious time-leeches.
Streaming video, checking social media, playing online games, listening to music – it all takes up bandwidth. This can be particularly problematic for smaller businesses without advanced IT infrastructures – if someone is using all the bandwidth on something not related to their work, they could be making it harder for other employees to use your network more seriously.
It should go without saying that your employees shouldn’t exactly be surfing pornographic websites or checking out racist or sexist memes as they work. The problem is that different people are going to have different ideas about what is and isn’t offensive. One of your team may find something funny and another may find the same content discriminatory. As the employer, you’re ultimately responsible for the content your employees view, and that can make you liable if anyone is ever offended.
Finally, keep in mind that many less savoury websites are associated with cyber security risks. If your employees visit them, they may end up exposing your entire network to malware, phishing emails, and other potentially serious attacks. Why wouldn’t you prevent your team from accessing sites that have exhibited suspicious behaviour?