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Small Business Digest


Watching the Office Web-Watchers

Employers used to worry about the cost of pens and staples employees took home and of the long-distance personal calls they made from their desks on company time.  Those worries, relatively speaking, may have been child's play.
With the introduction of the Internet, a tool many employees use to conduct job-related tasks, monitoring costly behavior of workers is much more difficult, because it includes checking what they are viewing on the World Wide Web.
According to The ePolicy Institute, 30% of managers who fired employees in 2007 for Web violations did so because the staffers were “viewing, downloading or uploading” pornography or some other offensive or inappropriate material.
MessageLabs Web Security Service helps companies get a handle on that. The service gives users the ability to either block or monitor the sites visited by computer users.
Permitting employees unchecked access to the Internet can open business owners to a host of problems. For example, spyware and viruses hide on Web sites, and when someone clicks on a page, the infected material can install on the host computer. There is also the chance that inappropriate material will be viewed by and offend other employees, who in turn could create legal problems for the company.

However, the biggest concern with misuse of the Internet is the time employees waste. When they are surfing the Net, they are stealing time from the job they are being paid to do. Besides, the company is paying for an Internet connection that is being used only partially for business-related communications.

Many businesses decide to block non-work-related sites and material, such as advertising and pop-ups, chat rooms, games and personal/dating services. Although such matter may be inoffensive, managers may not want their employees viewing it.

MessageLabs Web Security Service blocks sites individually or by category. It can also be programmed to allow different levels of access for specific users. Managers can receive detailed reports of Internet use throughout the company. The service, which operates within the company’s network of data centers, also processes requests from users to view a specific site; when the request is made, the page is first reviewed by the system and then checked to ensure that it meets the company’s usage criteria.

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