Microsoft: Windows Web Content Filtering Now Generally Available
Microsoft has announced that web content filtering has reached general availability and is now available for all Windows enterprise customers.
“The Microsoft Defender for Endpoint team is pleased to announce the general availability of web content filtering for our customers on Windows,” said Thomas Doucette, a Program Manager at Microsoft.
“Over the past six months, we have focused on redesigning our reporting infrastructure to ensure that customers can access web content filtering reports in a reliable, performant manner.”
Doucette added that web content filtering reports are now updated on a regular basis, and they can be viewed via the new Microsoft 365 Defender portal available at security.microsoft.com
Blocks that haven’t yet been added to the reports can also be accessed through the Advanced Hunting and Device Timeline to make it easier to investigate block events across the entire organization.
Admins can also customize web content filtering categories via the Microsoft 365 Defender portal if any false positives occur.
More info on the full list of block categories and detailed descriptions for each category is available in the official Web content filtering documentation.
Web content filtering is part of Defender for Endpoint’s web protection capabilities. It enables organizations to deploy custom web usage policies for tracking and controlling access to websites within an enterprise environment.
The feature is available on all major web browsers, and it denies attempts to access blocked content via Windows Defender SmartScreen (on Microsoft Edge) and Network Protection (on Chrome, Firefox, Brave, and Opera).
Together with other web protection components (i.e., web threat protection and custom indicators), admins can use it to secure endpoints from web threats and regulate unwanted web content.
Web content filtering entered public preview in late January 2020. Microsoft decided to offer it for free to all enterprise customers “as part of Microsoft Defender ATP without any additional partner licensing” in July 2020.
To enable it, you need to open the Microsoft 365 Defender portal and go to Settings > Endpoints > General > Advanced Features in the left-hand navigation menu.
From there, scroll down until you see the Web Content Filtering entry, switch the toggle to On, and Save preferences.