If you are one of the millions of companies out there that do not monitor or restrict their employees’ Internet access, you’re probably thinking to yourself things like “my co-workers won’t do anything bad” or “our antivirus software is good enough” or even “what’s the worst that could happen?”.
I wish it were that easy, and that antivirus software really could protect all of us from the worst the Internet has to offer, but the simple truth is that it cannot.
Internet monitoring software should be a key part of any defense in-depth approach to securing your corporate assets, and a vital protection you should offer your users.
Companies that use Internet monitoring software have better uptime statistics, suffer fewer malware incidents, and enjoy higher user productivity. Those that don’t , can look forward to things like this.
1. Downtime from malware
You may not want to monitor Internet access, but the primary way malware gets onto corporate systems today is from users accessing compromised sites. Internet monitoring software can help protect users from sites infected with malicious content without having to report that access to management, using simple block categories for known bad sites and file types.
2. Email blacklists
A lot of that malware turns systems into spam spewing zombies, and it won’t take long for you to find your entire network on a spam blacklist, effectively cutting your legitimate corporate email off from your customers and vendors. Internet monitoring software can alert you to systems trying to connect to the command and control servers.
3. Financial loss from phishing
Not a week goes by that the news doesn’t cover some company whose bank accounts were emptied because an employee gave confidential account information to a phishing site. Internet monitoring software can help block access to known phishing sites, and identify behaviors that are common amongst phishing sites.
4. Lost productivity
A certain amount of recreational Internet access is fine; spending six hours on the clock updating your Facebook page is not. Internet monitoring software can identify the largest users of the web, as well as the sites that get the most attention from your users, so you can address issues before they become serious problems.
5. Big bandwidth bills
Even if you pay a flat rate for your connection, you might be paying for a larger pipe than you really need. Internet monitoring software can generate reports that can show you how much bandwidth is being used by your CRM application, and how much is being used by streaming videos.
6. HR “issues”
It up to users what content to surf at home but when they are surfing adult websites at work, and another user is offended by what they inadvertently see, you have the makings of a hostile workplace lawsuit. The same can be said of political or religious sites; some things just don’t belong in the working environment. Internet monitoring software can block access to sites that are clearly not work related, avoiding the sorts of issues that are uncomfortable for everyone.
An offended employee is not the only source of a lawsuit related to Internet access. Illegal downloads of copyrighted material are a serious concern for businesses, which could be found liable should their employees download the latest Hollywood blockbuster from the office. Internet monitoring software can identify these downloads, and stop them before you get your first subpoena or Cease & Desist letter.
While there are other compelling reasons to implement Internet monitoring software on your network, these seven represent very real, very bad consequences that could come about as a result of not doing so. Protect your users, your company, and your limited free time by deploying an Internet monitoring solution today.
About the Author: 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. Read more on the importance of using Internet monitoring software within the organization.
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