How do I choose a firewall?

A firewall product is often treated like a commodity–as if all firewalls were the same and the only difference was the brand name. Yet a firewall is the most important piece of equipment protecting an entire network, and many criteria differ depending on the model and supplier. Certain features are included on some firewalls, and not others. Many suppliers try to get your attention with what initially appears to be a very low purchase investment; however, when you upgrade to get all the features you want, the total price becomes much higher.

Why a content filter?

Many owners and managers don’t think Website content filtering is important, believe employee web surfing is a small issue, and think content filtering is unnecessary; even a bit harsh and strict. But if you knew there was a processing problem in your company that was losing you thousands of dollars a year, you’d jump and fix it at once, wouldn’t you?
This is what the choice of not filtering Web content is doing to you and your company.
Schools caught on to this long ago. They like Netsentron because of its combination of True intelligent content filter and traditional ‘Ban List’, which makes it very good at protecting students from inappropriate website content. School administrators use Netsentron and its content filter because it stops people from seeing the wrong things on the Internet, and lets them see the right things.
Isn’t that what should be happening when your employees use the Internet?
You’ll probably be quite surprised at how much NOT filtering website content is costing you…Without an Internet content filter, you are letting your employees waste time surfing for things that have nothing to do with your business. How much?
30 – 40% of Internet use in the workplace is not related to business (IDC Research)
Over 60% of all online purchases are made between 9AM and 5PM (Nielsens/NetRatings)
70% of all Internet porn traffic occurs during the 9-5 workday (SexTracker)
37% of workers say they surf the Web constantly while at work (Vault.com).
These are independent statistics, and they show that employees are spending a large amount of time looking at things on the Internet that they shouldn’t be.
Let’s say you have three employees, who earn an average of $20 per hour and work an 8-hour day Monday through Friday. Let’s assume that, with True website content filtering in place, you recover just 15 minutes of productive time a day from each employee. Just 15 minutes a day each. Much less than one percent of a 40-hour work week. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? However, you just made $300 in labour costs per month productive again–you just saved $300 per month from being wasted! That’s $3,600 in a year. Compare that to the cost of Netsentron, and this is only one area in which Netsentron saves you money!
Online Gaming is Actually UP at Workplaces, In Spite of Economic Downturn & Fears of Layoffs
You’d think that in the current economy employees would be more likely to be staying away from time-wasters like online gaming. But the truth, says Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Prof. Robert Bloomfield, is that despite fears of being laid off, online gaming is actually up at work:
“They are using collaboration tools like WebEx and Skype to save travel costs for their current job, or they are using social networking sites like LinkedIn or Facebook if they are building connections should they need a new job. Either way, the temptation of online gaming is only a click away.”
Avoid Legal Liability
It might be hard to believe but the above stats show it to be true: The most common form of employee misuse of the Internet is to surf porn.
“Almost 40% of enterprise network bandwidth is being consumed by recreational or non-business applications “
~Blue Coat Systems Survey
Some employees download intensive content like music videos, streaming media and advertising banners that clog up network resources. So your network appears to be slow. With Netsentron’s diagnostic tools, you can quickly and easily identify bandwidth tie-ups. You can see which computer is downloading the media, and then stop it by throttling the bandwidth just like you use the throttle on your car to speed up or slow down. You can set a limit to the volume of bandwidth an individual computer is allowed to download…and keep your network resources freed up for important work.
These are the most important reasons why businesses need True content filtering.

How does Netsentron work as a content filter?

Unlike simpler filters which can easily be evaded, Netsentron’s True Content Filter QUADRUPLE-FILTERS website content in order to determine whether it is safe for viewing. Checking first for outright bad websites by their URL (address), second for file types that are dangerous, third for an ICRA rating (the non-profit Family Online Safety Institute’s Internet Content Rating Association), and finally the content against banned words and phrases and their weightings. Netsentron carefully determines if the site should be blocked. Only after a website has passed these four filtering stages will it be displayed.
The client enters the URL into their browser and the request is sent off to NetSentron.
The header is then checked for the following: user name, malformed URL, source IP, URL and POST Status. The appropriate filters are checked: Banned User, Banned IP Address, Banned URL, Exception User, Exception IP Address, Exception URL and Malformed URL.
If all of these tests are passed, NetSentron fetches the file from the Internet. (So far it is the same as a Web Filter)
Next the MIME-type and file extensions are checked. If the file is an allowed MIME-type or an allowed file extension, then it carries on to the next step. (Some Web Filters have this ability)
Netsentron now checks the file to see if there is an ICRA rating in the page, providing that it is a web page and not some other sort of file. (This is where things start to differentiate from a Web Filter)
If the page passes the ICRA ratings, then, the phrases and words in the page are checked against the banned phrase list, exception phrase list and weighted phrase lists. A running total is tabulated for the page and then checked against the threshold set by the administrator. (This is where Netsentron really differentiates itself from Web Filters, it is actually reading the content of the web page)
If all of those checks are passed, the client will receive the web page or requested file.

How does Netsentron fit into my network?

Netsentron is situated between your network and the uncertainties of the Internet. Your data is protected and Web content is filtered, keeping your users safe, all by the same box. Unlike many competing products, Netsentron is a single-point network management solution…not a costly, modular add-on scheme.

Tutorial: Net to Net
Tutorial: Host to Net
Tutorial: X509 Certificates

Why A Content Filter?