Bandwidth/Content Policies for Small Businesses using an application aware firewall

I'm responsible for IT for a small law firm. Our Internet connectivity "experience" has been slowing down over the last two years. I'm wondering what other businesses do in terms of policies for blocking or limiting access to different web sites or limiting bandwidth for online radio stations, etc.

I'm trying to strike a balance between being able to fully use what we need for business function and still allowing employees to distract/take breaks/support their work rhythms.

Ideas, experience, articles welcome...

Thanks.
sweetseaterAsked:
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ViebsConnect With a Mentor Commented:
We use the SonicWall NSA series and it works like a charm for Content Filtering by categories.  You can restrict some people and unrestrict others by users/departments.  It integrates with LDAP, Active Directory.
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Nasir-SiddiqueConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Find the trend for Internet usage.
During the peak time dont allow every thing but official requirements.
Ease the policy and allow rest during off paek internet usage hours.

Use a policybandwidth device, if your company can afford, go for one like Packet shaper from blue coat or Web Marshall.

In addition make certain regulation imposed by office authority that certain stuff should not be used during office busy hours and internet is basically for office purpose. Propogating these regulation will make the user understand the policy imposed.

Of you have a firewall, allow only trusted ports, and block all the rest. In this way no one will be able to use bandwidth intensive P2P software.
Limit download in off office hours, from 5PM to 7AM. Some people may be downloading during office hours.
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qasaliConnect With a Mentor Commented:
being a small law firm, investing in hardware devices will not be viable and cost effective. Nor the bosses will approve. I think u should used ISA server. U can block websites, based on content filtering, bandwidth allocation based on each connection, video streaming, downloading etc.

First of all u should limit the video streaming bandwidth usage per user. E,g, if a user wants to watch a video on facebook or youtube, he/she may view it at (e.g.) 10-20 KB/s. Downloading of files should be controlled. If u r managing a domain, deny installation of downloaders like orbit iDM etc.

In short video streaming is the most important factor in speed slow down. If u control it then 70 percent of ur problems will be gone.

By the way ISA supports all these functionalities and even more. It is also easy to use as compared to squid.
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QlemoBatchelor, Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
This question has been classified as abandoned and is being closed as part of the Cleanup Program.  See my comment at the end of the question for more details.
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