FEBRUARY 2013: Malware and botnets and shoe shopping, oh my! Filtering Internet content for malware is critical to keep your business running smooth — and so is filtering out distractions!
According to IDC Research, 30-40% of all Internet use at work is not related to business. More than 60% of all online purchases (Nielsens/NetRating) and 70% of all Internet porn traffic (SexTracker) actually happens between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. And 37% of employees say they surf the Web constantly while at work (Vault.com). Yes, constantly.
Which is why businesses that appropriately filter Internet content protect their networks from cyber criminals, get more done and have faster Internet, too — all in one giant leap.
Here are seven ways filters can help your business:
1. Stop web-based malware from entering your network by filtering or blocking blacklisted sites. Filters check websites against databases that contain millions of sites that have been banned or “blacklisted” for suspicious activities. If a website isn’t safe, it’ll be blocked. Files with certain extensions can also be blocked from downloading.
2. Block URLs that have nothing to do with work.
Entire categories of websites can be blocked, like adult sites, gambling (including fantasy football), gaming, social networks, dating, entertainment, e-commerce, real estate, travel, chat, user groups, web-based email, radio, specific keywords — practically any category you want. On the flip side, you can also “whitelist” websites, which accelerates traffic flow by allowing pre-approved sites to pass un-inspected.
3. Improve your network performance, including accelerating cloud-based applications and services. When your bandwidth is being used for work purposes only, guess what? The Internet’s faster.
4. Help improve your team’s performance. Without distractions and temptations, your team can get more done. You can set different levels of filtering for different people by using password bypass settings.
5. Avoid legal liability issues. By filtering for certain site categories, such as porn — the most common form of employee misuse — you can protect yourself from civil or criminal liability from the get-go.
6. Make IT and HR decisions based on accurate reports. Filters can generate reports on monitored online activity, from website requests, bandwidth usage and usage patterns to monitoring the exact keystrokes that are typed into the Internet by each user, sometimes in real-time.
7. Create the corporate culture you want. The balance your company strikes in your Internet usage policy helps convey your priorities. If you regulate usage without being overly restrictive, for example, you send the message that you want to be safe and have a productive work environment but don’t want to get in the way.