In our 13 years' experience providing technology services to the greater Nashville area, we have seen firsthand how essential content filters are. In our ever more connected world, content filters are essential tools both for home and business environments.
The usefulness of a content filter in the home is obvious. Parents want to protect their children from exposure to inappropriate or dangerous content, such as pornography. In a business setting, content filters serve two purposes: preventing access to objectionable content in the workplace, and acting as another layer of cybersecurity against malware. We've seen content filters catch and block infected websites that even the most sophisticated antivirus solutions miss.
As you can imagine, the market is full of options when it comes to content filters. In our experience, though, three solutions stand out as excellent, both in terms of ease of use and functionality. Read on below to learn about them, and feel free to comment or contact us with questions!
1. Covenant Eyes
Covenant Eyes started out as an "accountability" solution that would send users' browsing history to a designated accountability partner or parent administrator. This feature is still at the center of what they do, and actually very sophisticated. However, Covenant Eyes has since added content filtering capabilities, making it a versatile product.
Sophisticated, customizable accountability reporting
Mobile browser for phones/tablets that automatically filters content
Centralized account management
Inability to disable/uninstall without calling Covenant Eyes support and notifying an accountability partner/administrator
Accountability and filtering are available for Windows and Mac OS X computers and iOS mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch). Only accountability is available for Android devices.
$9.99/month for individual users
$13.99/month for an entire family
$13.99/month for "groups" (businesses, churches, organizations, etc.)
OpenDNS is unique in that it applies content filtering at the network level, meaning that browsing on any device -- desktop, laptop, phone, tablet, gaming console, you name it -- is automatically filtered. Furthermore, OpenDNS also provides other network security benefits as well, including protection against phishing attacks. It's a great option for businesses that want to apply blanket filtering, as well as for families who have multiple devices accessing the web throughout the house.
Customizable filtering at the network level
Protection against phishing attacks
Expanded network-level security for businesses
Improved network performance with local DNS
Since OpenDNS does its work at the network level, you don't have to worry about operating system compatibility!
Originally, Mobicip was a "safe browser" with a baked-in content filter designed mobile devices. It's still that, but it has matured nicely, offering more in the way of reporting (including app usage) and centralized control for parents, as well as a safe browser designed for PCs.
Safe browser app for phones, tablets, and PCs
App usage tracking for phones and tablets
Robust filtering options (category filters, domain blacklisting, keyword blacklisting)
Centralized parental controls and reporting available from administrator app
Mobicip is available for iOS and Android devices, as well as PCs running Windows 7 or 8.
Free Basic version with limited features/controls
Premium version with full feature set for $39.99/yr (up to 5 users)
Enterprise version with expanded features aimed at organizations for price quoted on request