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Companies in the dark over worker surfing

24 September 2008

Voco: Internet security

Companies in the dark over worker surfing

Worker's private time online is spiralling out of control according to an ICT security consultant, Paul Hortop from Voco.

He says typically just over 25 per cent of online time at work is spent on personal activities.

But the real issue is that senior management often has no way of tracking Internet activity or policies to define what staff can and can't do.

Paul Hortop, from ICT consultancy firm, Voco, says the sites most visited by those engaged in personal surfing include online trading sites, instant messaging/chat services and peer-to-peer sharing sites.

While monitoring bidding on a ski jacket, or trying to find the love of your life, is clearly private business, with other activities it's less clear.

Paul Hortop says the challenge is finding out what is appropriate use.

"Is it more time efficient to let staff do their banking online than having them leave the office for half an hour?"

Instant messaging and social networking sites now play a central part in communications both in this country and overseas. But this can be both a networking asset to a company and a private distraction.

Paul Hortop says CEOs and CIOs are often not aware of what is happening on networks under their control.

He cites as an example a recent video of "Hellboy: The Golden Army" that was widely downloaded, often on corporate networks, ahead of the movie's official release date.

"If investigators were tracking who was downloading, then the company address would turn up and the company would be the one facing legal implications. On top of that are the various Internet nasties that can also arrive as part of the bundle."

Voco's Paul Hortop says most companies face lost productivity as staff attention is diverted elsewhere, but also bandwidth is consumed, slowing overall network performance. On top of all that, IT departments devote a significant amount of time to dealing with the spyware, adware, virus and other privacy invasive software that sneaks in through non-work activity.

Recent improvements in network monitoring capabilities, such as web filtering and intrusion prevention, can help identify unwanted activity and Paul Hortop recommends informed action to restrict browsing.

But most importantly companies must develop policies and then educate staff so everyone knows what is and what isn't OK.

About Voco:

Established in 2001, Voco is New Zealand's fastest growing independent telecommunications and interaction optimization consultancy providing advice and services to government and industry. For more information visit http://www.voco.co.nz).


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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