Access to the internet has become essential for almost every business. Sometimes there is the urge to prevent employees from using the internet to stem productivity losses or out of fear that something bad will happen if everyone in the organization has unrestricted internet access. In reality, studies show that employees who do not have access to the internet are just as likely to be unproductive because they would still take short breaks between tasks. A growing number of businesses use social media extensively so blocking access is counterproductive, even though these sites are high up on the list of ‘time-wasters’. Organizations can reach a compromise through the use of internet access control.
What can a robust internet access control solution do for your organization?
Internet access control allows organizations to provide users with access to specific sites while disallowing access to others, also based on the time of day. With such an option an organization would be able to, for example, allow developers access to programming sites during work hours while giving them access to news, sports and gaming sites only during recess. Such a setup will help to eliminate the risk of cyberslacking and bandwidth hogging while affecting employee morale in the least possible manner.
Unrestricted internet access can be risky for a business. Users might visit sites that contain or have been infected with malware from which they might download unauthorized or infected software. A good internet access control package will scan any software downloaded for possible malware infection before allowing the user access to the file. At the same time the administrator will receive reports of what software is being downloaded and by whom so that he/she can take proactive action if an employee downloads illicit or illegal material.
Internet access control can also help an organization cut some of its costs by helping the administrator identify where abnormally high bandwidth utilization is occurring. The solution can help the administrator identify sites which are bandwidth hungry and, if not work-related, blocked. It can also identify employees who are browsing websites excessively during office hours and notify them accordingly. Some internet access control software allow the administrator to specify a bandwidth quota per employee – stopping internet abuse while having no impact on those employees who use the internet responsibly.
Internet access control can also help an organization avoid hefty fines and lawsuits by ensuring that company policies are being followed. Consider events where an employee might access adult material at work or download illegal software over the corporate network. Both of these actions can put an organization at legal risk and put the business’s reputation at stake. With an internet access control system these risks are managed and, if anyone finds a way around such controls and still accesses the material, the system can provide an audit trail ensuring the organization can defend itself by pinpointing the culprit.
Organizations can benefit a great deal if they use an internet access control system. This mechanism does not have to be seen as oppressive or have a negative impact on employee morale. A robust internet access control system can be configured to provide the organization with the protection it needs while still allowing employees to use the internet in line with company policy.
This guest post was provided by Emmanuel Carabott 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. More information: GFI internet access control.
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