Internet and business are practically inseparable nowadays. Younger members of the workforce never got the opportunity to do business without the internet, while the veterans probably can’t remember how it used to be.
It’s easy to see how beneficial the internet is for every business in existence. Instant transactions, communications, and global reach used to be a pipe dream, now a reality. However, the advent of the internet wasn’t without its drawbacks, some of them quite serious at that.
You wouldn’t be wrong to say that a malicious internet attack would do more damage to a company than an actual break-in. You also wouldn’t be wrong to assume that the endless funscape of the internet would be too much for some of the employees to resist, even during work hours.
Today, we’ll explore the inherent risks of internet access and what you, the employer, can do to protect your business. To that end, we’ll introduce you to internet monitoring and all its advantages.
Internet monitoring is too great of a subject matter to explore in a single sentence or two, so we’ll stick to more practical applications such as employee internet monitoring.
Employee internet monitoring is the process of collecting and analyzing each employee’s internet use. That includes the websites that the employee’s visited, as well as time spent on those websites. All the available data is compiled into reports for the managers and human resources personnel to see.
They can then use the collected data to decide if they’ll take any sort of action. For one, the management can decide to block access to websites and URLs that are killing employees’ productivity. Social media are usually the first to go unless they’re essential to the business.
The management can also decide to take action against employees who are wasting too much time. They can also address bandwidth use and any potential security risks.
The point is, with internet monitoring, the company has factual data to act on.
Monitoring internet use is not the same thing as internet filtering. As we’ve said, internet monitoring is simply the collection of data for analysis and compilation. It’s used to gain more insight into how the employees are using the internet and how much.
Internet filtering, on the other hand, is proactive in blocking certain websites or website categories. When there’s a web category that the company deems completely irrelevant (or downright distracting), they can just block it out. Adult and gambling sites, for example, should have no place in an employee’s workday, so the company just blocks access to them.
Internet monitoring does not prevent access to websites or URLs. It’s a mere observation of employee’s activities online. However, internet monitoring can lead to more serious measures such as internet filtering when there’s an obvious need for it.
There are several benefits of internet monitoring, the most important of which are increased productivity, bandwidth monitoring, and preventing data loss.
Monitoring the internet can reveal how each employee spends their workday. Browsing Amazon or checking Facebook feed are expected activities, and they’re usually fine so long as the employee doesn’t go overboard with it.
Unfortunately, they often do go overboard with time-wasting activities, neglecting the actual work they should be doing. You can use the data gathered to restrict access to problematic websites. Another course of action is to draw the employee’s attention to the problem and warn them about the consequences.
Whatever the company decides to do with internet monitoring data shouldn’t be done on a case-to-case basis. There should be a clear company policy regarding internet use that employees are aware of. It should outline what acceptable behavior is, how the monitoring data is used, and the threshold when the company has to intervene and block websites.
While management is most commonly interested in internet monitoring to increase productivity, they are also on the lookout for potential security breaches. As we’ve previously pointed out, a serious online breach or a data leak can spell immense problems for the company.
Internet monitoring can reveal all the risky websites that the employees are visiting during work hours. Likewise, it can reveal employees who are more likely to engage in risky behavior online.
You can’t afford to catch a virus or any kind of malware for that matter. Education of employees can go a long way in preventing harmful activities online, but it never hurts to simply block out all of the potentially dangerous content.
Finally, there’s also a case to be made against bandwidth hogging. Internet monitoring allows the people in charge to see who’s bottlenecking all the bandwidth. An employee who’s downloading a video game while working is going to cause a serious bottleneck. Without internet monitoring, it’s almost impossible to catch wind of who’s doing what during work hours.
Streaming music or videos is also going to put a strain on the company’s bandwidth, which is something you can’t allow. You’re paying for that bandwidth, and if there’s little to none of it left for serious company business, it becomes a literal waste of your money.
Thanks to internet monitoring, you can allocate more bandwidth to essential business applications and reduce the bandwidth use of unimportant websites.
Every discussion about internet monitoring, internet filtering, or employee monitoring software always brings up the impact of such activities on employee morale.
Using any kind of tracking software to punish your employees will, indeed, harm the company morale and increase employee turnover.
To some, this might seem like a breach of an employee’s privacy. However, legally speaking, companies have the right to know how the employees are spending the time they’re being paid for. A right that courts have upheld on numerous occasions.
While it’s true that employees are less satisfied when you’re monitoring their activities, they are also more productive. One research showed that employees who knew they were monitored were less satisfied and more productive than their coworkers who didn’t know that for a fact.
However, the same research also points out that it’s the problematic employees who were the most dissatisfied with internet monitoring. Star-performers weren’t that worried about monitoring, just the slackers who were bitter that their lack of work ethic was exposed.
The solution to the problem of reduced morale? Don’t use internet monitoring as a basis to take action against employees. Use it to prove your suspicions about a particular employee instead.
There’s no use beating around the bush – internet monitoring will bring numerous advantages to the company and protect your business. There’s no reason to avoid it.
Get internet monitoring software and you’ll have a powerful ally in all your future endeavors.