The vast majority of information resources on the internet consist of formatted text and graphic images. There are many other types of data, however, that can be retrieved from the internet with web browsers. Users will unknowingly access pages containing dangerous embedded code and experiment with untested, non-standard applications. These same employees will also download large media files that choke office network activity. Left unchecked, this type of irresponsible web behavior is a recipe for disaster.
Harmful computer viruses, worms and Trojans are contracted when users access popular web pages that contain embedded programs. An effective web filtering system must detect the existence of macros, java and any other executable content before it reaches user desktops.
Given that most office environments offer a reliable, high-speed internet connection, users will not think twice about downloading large files or accessing inefficient streaming media (audio/video). This practice can be especially harmful to a business, since it both occupies the user and impacts other workers by consuming large amounts of network bandwidth. With a filtering system in place, employers can restrict the size and type of files that users can access and enforce productive internet usage policies.