We are asked regularly by our clients how to control what web site content is viewed by employees. Often, we’re also asked about filtering home web browsing. In the business environment, there are legal risks to allowing employees to view whatever content they wish on the company Internet connection. The best place to prevent these problems is to control the connection itself, rather than installing complicated software-based solutions.
We have recommended and implemented Sonicwall’s content filtering solution for several years. http://www.sonicwall.com/us/products/7535.html This solution lets business owners simply implement their Internet usage policy by selecting which categories of web sites are blocked from view by employees. It is possible to more granularly control which groups of employees can be held to different policies, however this is an extra administrative burden and cost rarely implemented by our client base.
At home, installation of a Sonicwall is certainly a high quality solution, however, many people do not want to spend the $300 to $500 required to install a business-class firewall at home. A very simple solution to this issue is to filter web sites based on their DNS entries. DNS is the “phone book” of the Internet, allowing computers to find web site addresses. By using a special DNS system that is designed to filter out the addresses of objectionable web sites, you can enforce web site filtering on a basic level at little or no cost at home: http://www.opendns.com/start/ A technically gifted child can figure out the system and change it back to unrestricted browsing. However, most children would not figure out how to bypass this system, and can be prevented from doing so with additional lock-down of access to network settings on the computer.