Most companies have it deployed somewhere in their networks. It is most often thought of as a productivity tool to stop employees from wasting time with social media, shopping, porn, gambling, or many other sites during working hours: URL Filtering.
URL Filtering certainly has other benefits; it can stop employees from stumbling across known malware sites. Unfortunately, in today’s world of advanced threats, URL Filtering has received a reputation for being outdated technology that cannot adequately protect against modern attacks. But is that really the case?
Truth be told, when deployed independent of other security technology, URL Filtering cannot protect a company against modern, persistent attacks. But when deployed in combination with the right complementary technology, URL Filtering becomes a crucial component of today’s security architecture. How URL Filtering is deployed is the key difference.
At Palo Alto Networks we have combined URL Filtering with our Application Identification (App-ID) and our user identification capabilities. Together these technologies are part of the next generation security platform, along with many more capabilities I invite you to review. URL Filtering in combination with App-ID can protect against a full spectrum of legal, regulatory, productivity, and resource utilization risks. While App-ID provides control over what applications employees can access, URL Filtering provides control over related web activity. When combined with user identification, you can also apply these controls based on users and groups.
Here is just one example of the benefits of this technology combination: You can control access to Facebook or LinkedIn using URL Filtering, but on its own URL Filtering cannot block the use of all related applications, such as email, chat or other new applications introduced after you implemented your policy. App-ID fulfills that functionality in great granularity by identifying each app and applying it to your policies. Content-ID, another part of the next generation security platform then looks at the content within applications and documents to find possible threats.
It is easy to see how URL Filtering natively built into a next generation security platform can play a crucial part in today’s security environment far beyond a stand-alone URL Filtering deployment. And the best thing about it is, you no longer require a third party, stand-alone URL Filtering solution.