Information loss or leakage 3min de Leitura - 03 de November de 2015

Web Proxy: Essentials on content categorization

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[rev_slider alias=”ebook-filtro-web-360×280″][/rev_slider] The internet presents a growing variety of websites, covering a multitude of contents for audiences with differentiated consumption needs. This feature makes the Internet a very rich environment, helping users to form concepts and obtain information, more efficiently. In contrast, the breadth of websites distributed in the network presents a representative challenge regarding the control of user accesses, especially in corporate environments.

Most companies adopt measures to control employees’ accesses, including the establishment of Internet use policies and logical control mechanisms, with the objective of guaranteeing employee productivity and the safety of the company’s assets. Thus, content categorization control appears as a way to facilitate the construction and maintenance of access rules, based on categorized websites, allowing administrators to more efficiently control user access.

In this post, you will have access to relevant content categorization information, and how this can improve the effectiveness of security policies, applied in enterprise environments. Keep reading!

What are categories and how do they work?

Categories are common sets of URLs that offer the same content type, and because of that, they are represented in a unique way. For example, an entertainment category has a set of websites whose content reflects its description or purpose.

There are a few billion websites on the internet, because of this, categorization offers a faster and much safer way for managing internet access policies. These bases are maintained by specialized companies and updated very frequently.

Beware of free databases; there is usually a high incidence of false positives that, depending on the size of the structure, it becomes unfeasible to use. A good database should not only have many websites, but they should be very well classified.

Due to the number of international websites with content offered in different languages, the more internationalized the database, the more security for companies, since a certain category will not only reflect content of a country.

The dynamic categorization of URLs is based on a database of billions of websites, duly classified by specialized companies, enabling the easy management of access, ensuring protection against threats and adherence to the policies of use of the internet resource. Thousands of URLs have already been categorized, and new websites are ranked in real time, generating daily updates in the category base, automatically. The most traditional categories adopted in companies are games, social networks and adult content, among others. There are, however, several other possibilities defined based on the needs of each business.

Web proxy with category-based control


The use of rules based on categories brings greater effectiveness in controlling access to websites, since there are categories of URLs associated with spyware, phishing, keylogging, and distribution of viruses. It is worth mentioning that the manual maintenance of access lists, contemplating URLs with these characteristics, in order to use them in the web proxy, is an inefficient form of control of the accesses in a corporate environment, being little feasible its application in most of the businesses.


The use of categories in the construction of navigation control rules makes the configuration process much more efficient, reducing coverage failures and minimizing the time invested by the IT analyst in structuring and maintaining them. Investments in the acquisition of solutions, focused on categorization, are quickly justified, through the benefits provided by the solution.

Content inappropriate or harmful to the corporate environment

The policies of access to websites, usually adopted by companies, besides addressing concepts of productivity and security are aimed at formalizing content not appropriate or compatible with the work environment. The categorization of URLs also helps in the process of adherence to this demand, allowing restriction of access to websites related to adult content, drugs, games, political organizations and others.

Control over social media

Recent research proves the loss of productivity associated with uncontrolled use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube, during work hours. The access control by categories is a great ally to control these accesses, allowing the definition of personalized rules of access, based on sectors and schedules, guaranteeing full adherence to the access policies adopted by the company.

Custom Policies

The control performed from categories does not detract from the administrator’s flexibility and the ability to work with lists and generate exceptions in groups of websites. Thus, content categorization allows additional URLs to be added to build access rules in line with business needs.

Categorizing URLs for increased efficiency and safety

As discussed in the previous paragraphs, manually creating access policies based on rules that use lists created manually by IT staff members, is somewhat inefficient and insecure, depending on the level of safety required by the business. In this sense, the control based on categories adds a fundamental layer of security, allowing it to manage in a more assertive way the accesses to the internet. It is worth mentioning the importance of paying attention to the free and public databases used in URL categorization engines, which are usually limited and generate a false sense of security. As a rule of thumb, companies should look for specialized vendors who offer up-to-date solutions, enhancing the company’s expertise in security concepts.

Do you know the concept of content categorization based on URLs? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

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