As an employer, you may be concerned about employees accessing certain websites during work hours. Whether it’s out of concern for productivity, security risks, or just the intention of creating an ideal working environment, there are ways you can restrict or block employee access to certain websites while they’re at work.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of these methods, from software solutions to complete network restrictions, so you can identify which may work best in your workplace environment.
Why Should You Block Employees From Websites?
Reasons why you may want to block certain websites at work can vary. Here are a few of them:
Employees spending too much time browsing non-work related websites during working hours could reduce productivity and efficiency. By blocking these websites during working hours, you can help employees remain focused on their tasks without becoming distracted.
Certain websites could pose a security threat to your company’s network or data. For instance, if employees visits a dangerous website, they could inadvertently receive malware on their computer or be prompted to give away credentials in what is known as a credential harvesting attack. These situations are extremely dangerous to your company and can compromise your entire company network. Restricting access to these websites can help minimize the risk of accidental security breaches.
Depending on the nature of the workplace, certain websites may need to be more appropriate and professional. For instance, in medical offices, it may be essential to restrict access to social media websites to ensure patient confidentiality.
How To Block Your Employees From Certain Websites
Now that we’ve examined some reasons for blocking specific websites in your workplace, let’s explore some of the ways this goal may be accomplished:
Install Website Blocking Software
A DIY approach to restrict access to certain websites is with website-blocking software. There are various solutions available, each providing its own set of features and benefits. Among the more popular solutions for website blocking are:
- Cold Turkey: Cold Turkey is an accessible website blocking software that allows you to block certain websites for a set amount of time, providing employees extra help staying focused during work hours.
- Net Nanny: Net Nanny is a website blocking software that enables you to filter certain websites based on categories, such as social media or adult content. Employers may find this a helpful tool to restrict access to certain types of sites without manually blocking each.
- K9 Web Protection: K9 Web Protection is an efficient website blocking solution, enabling users to limit or restrict access to certain websites based on categories and individual websites. Employers looking for greater control over what their employees can access may find this tool especially helpful.
Website blocking software may effectively restrict employee access to certain websites at work; however, there are some potential drawbacks. Employees could find ways around it, or it could block access to work-related sites accidentally. To use this option effectively someone in your company needs to be in charge of administering it and be responsible for making any necessary adjustments.
Another effective method for blocking access to specific websites is through your network firewall settings. With this method, administrators deploy rules that govern and restrict the IP addresses or domains that are not allowed across all devices employees use on your network. As more and more employees are working from remote locations, this method might be ok for the devices that are on the office network, but wouldn’t take care of remote workers.
Deploy A Web Filtering Service
You can also consider implementing a device-based web filtering service to block access to specific websites. Web filtering services come in a variety of forms, but are going to be deployed at the device level to analyze internet traffic and block access to websites based on predetermined criteria. These are one of the most effective methods for handling allowed website traffic today. In-house IT staff or an outside IT service provider can provide and administer these services.
Inform Employees About Internet Usage Policies
No matter what method you use to restrict your company web traffic, you should have clearly defined (and clearly communicated) company internet use policies. As well as informing employees about internet use policies, training provides valuable skills like recognizing phishing scams and avoiding malware downloads. As far as training goes, the best approach is to have ongoing security awareness training that includes email phishing testing as well.
Secure Your Workplace Devices
There are a variety of methods you can employ to restrict employee access to specific websites at work. Each approach must be carefully assessed before making any definitive decisions, from software blocking, network restrictions, and web filtering services to combination strategies.
Your best solution for stopping employees from accessing certain websites in the workplace depends on your particular requirements. By evaluating your company’s internet use policies and security risks, you can come up with a comprehensive plan.
Our experienced team at Skyline IT Management can work with you to develop customized solutions tailored to the unique requirements of your workplace. Book a call today for more information!