Guest Post: Six Risks from Not Using Internet Monitoring Software
When you start talking about Internet monitoring software, most times you see folks divide up into two camps. The first is all for it, convinced that the company must watch what users are doing at all times to catch those who violate policy. The second considers monitoring as an infringement on their privacy, and that any Internet monitoring software can only serve to make employees feel even less trusted.
The fact is that both of these camps are in the extreme, if opposite, and both are wrong. Internet monitoring software is an effective and invaluable solution for protecting users from many of the dangers associated with accessing the Internet. The protections that Internet monitoring software offers can all be deployed without having to log a single user’s web access. Sure, Internet monitoring software can be used to maintain logs and provide reports of a user’s surfing if you wish, but that is something a company would choose to do for a specific issue; not a part of the protections that they so desperately need. With all the threats present on the Internet today, let’s look at the top six risks to your company that come about from not using Internet monitoring software:
Malware can cause all kinds of problems if it infects a machine, from lost productivity and downtime, to larger compromises that back door programs can provide to attackers. Malware can spread from machine to machine, and once it gains a foothold within a company, it can take down an entire site whether by infecting all the other machines, or simply because the network team takes a location down to prevent the infection from spreading to other sites. Users can be exposed to malware by downloads of files, or by accessing compromised sites. Internet monitoring software can block access to sites known to be hosting malware, and can also scan all file downloads to be sure they are safe.
2. Time wasted
I will never advocate that you cut users off from personal access to the Internet. As long as the office can interrupt their evenings or weekends, some personal use should be tolerated in the interests of fairness and morale. But the Internet can also be a huge time sink, and many users can hit a site with the intention of no more than a quick check-in, to find 45 minutes later that they are late for a meeting. Internet monitoring software can help control access to non-business sites, and limit the time spent surfing for fun.
3. Bandwidth consumption
Internet monitoring software can help to control access to high-bandwidth services; ensuring that there is enough bandwidth available for customers to hit your website and for email to flow. You don’t want your ecommerce site to be slow to respond because too many users are streaming movies.
4. Data leakage
Whether it’s Wikileaks, peer-to-peer networking, personal web mail services, or your competitor’s portal, you don’t want users forwarding or posting confidential information from your business to outside sites. Internet monitoring software can block access to these services, helping to enforce policy and keeping sensitive information inside.
5. Legal action
A user on your network downloads a pirated movie from one of those sites. The MPAA tracks the download to your network. Who do you think is going to be the target of a settlement offer, or worse, a lawsuit? What users do on their own time and with their own equipment is their business; what they do with the company’s computer on the company’s network is yours. Internet monitoring software can prevent users from stepping on the wrong side of copyright while on the clock, which protects the business from any consequences.
6. HR issues
Again, what a user does at home is their own concern, but there are plenty of things on the web that have no reason for a user to access while at the office. Some users are more sensitive to questionable content than others, and the last thing anyone wants is for one employee to feel threatened or offended by the actions of another. Internet monitoring software can protect users from accidentally clicking the wrong link, which protects everyone from having a sit down with HR.
Remember, using Internet monitoring software doesn’t mean you have to be big brother or play the role of the Internet police officer to protect your users. Internet monitoring software can provide protections while maintaining the anonymity of your users and keeping their individual web browsing habits private. Adding these protections makes good business sense, and can be done without making users think that they are untrusted, or being spied upon. Look at Internet monitoring software as the next layer of your defense in depth strategy.
This guest post was provided by Casper Manes on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Learn more about why you need Internet monitoring software.
All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.