I'm part of a network at my job and the only thing that can be accessed from my/my co-workers computers is the company database and sharepoint. These are accessed through IE. Everything else is denied through permissions. I know this is done to disallow non-work oriented internet browsing. Is there any way to implement permissions over a network on a browser to only allow work-oriented browsing?
There are several approaches, and based on the concrete requirements, there are good ones and bad ones.
A very simple, but effective possibility would be to limit the browsing experience by enforcing the use of a company proxy server and/or by allowing provided URLs by a firewall (and block every other content). The downside of this approach is that such a solution is often "crafted" for specific situations and therefore not maintainable without larger efforts.
A more professional solution could be to use third party software which allows access to several websites based on zones or groups (such as "block xxx sites"). Such tools could be located on a central server/firewall or on each client computer.
You'd have to better define "work orientated browsing".
If this is a list of X websites, then you could create a browser based "white list".
IE's in build settings have this option, look at Content advisor, it supports wildcards, so * could be used to restrict EVERYTHING BUT, the sites you want to allow.
The better and normal solution companies use is a content filtering system on a proxy, though.
If the company database and the company SharePoint server are both on the company's own corporate network (as opposed to being hosted elsewhere), then it's dead simple to block all HTTP traffic, at least on the well-known ports, from getting through the firewall/router at the edge of the corporate network (that is, between the corporate network and the Internet connection).