GFI Software investigate the importance of web security and monitoring in the workplace.
Internet monitoring can sometimes be viewed as a Big Brother syndrome whereby your every move on the internet is being watched and your privacy is being invaded; however, internet monitoring has many positive features that actually protect the internet user from potential online threats.
The internet is a melting pot of websites that deal with every topic under the sun.
Whilst this is very useful and has many advantages these topics also include negative ones that could harm your machine and the network that it’s attached to. Cybercrime is rife over the internet with malicious people looking to get rich quick often by harming other browsers using viruses, malware, spyware, botnets, etc. Browsing the internet without any security is akin to swimming amongst sharks with an open wound – you’re bound to get attacked.
Browsing unsecured sites could result in malware being downloaded onto your machine without you even noticing, thus infecting your machine with a virus that could destroy your hard drive and all your data. In worse scenarios your machine could be compromised and become part of a botnet that contributes to further malicious online activity. If a machine gets infected with a virus and is attached to a network then it’s possible that the entire network gets infected which can cause further havoc. By having an internet monitoring solution installed, websites that are dangerous can be blocked to prevent such scenarios from happening.
Apart from the virus threat that is ever-present, there is also the ethical side when it comes to internet browsing. Research shows that 40% of internet browsing in the work place is actually non work-related with employees checking their personal email accounts, logging onto social media sites like Facebook and MySpace, chatting to their friends via instant messaging programs, etc. All this activity cuts into productive, billable working hours thus resulting in less work being done. This is a phenomenon known as cyberslacking where the employee slacks on the job due to being connected to the internet.
Workplace Internet Monitoring
Apart from the aforementioned sites, there could also be employees who browse illicit websites at work which could cause distress to co-workers and potentially result in lawsuits for the company. An internet monitoring solution allows for these sites to be blocked and therefore the temptation to browse them is automatically eliminated. Furthermore reports can be generated to know which employee spends the most time browsing sites that have nothing to do with their job.
Employees are privy to information about the company they work for, oftentimes this information being confidential. However it is very easy to let this information slip on social networking sites by, for example, updating your status and telling everyone about the latest project that you’re working on – a project that might not be ready for unveiling to the public. Whilst these slips may not be intentional they could still have unwanted repercussions and result in a situation of data leakage.
Apart from installing an internet monitoring solution it’s also important that an internet usage policy is implemented across the whole company to ensure that everyone abides by the same browsing rules. If people are aware of the threats involved with their internet browsing activities then they may be less likely to even bother browsing certain sites. Implementing a web monitoring solution will then serve as a net to block any threats in those cases where people may still land on certain sites that are harmful.
This article was submitted by GFI Software, a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. With award-winning technology, an aggressive pricing strategy and a strong focus on small-to-medium sized businesses, GFI is able to satisfy the need for business continuity and productivity encountered by organizations on a global scale. GFI has offices in the US, Malta, England, Scotland, Austria, Romania, Hong Kong and Australia which support more than 200,000 installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with over 10,000 partners worldwide.