Wait Until You Hear How Many Hours a Day an EPA Official Confessed to Watching Porn at Work

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

Bad-Press-PublicityIn today’s world, many if not most employees have access to the Web at work. For the most part, that’s a good thing, and in some cases essential.  Unfortunately, that same access has a dark side. That’s because certain workers will inevitably visit illicit or risky Web sites, and such visits can expose the organization to serious legal liability.  The most troublesome sites are those devoted to pornography.  Sites devoted to gambling, illegal drugs, hate speech and criminal activity can also create legal issues, albeit to a lesser extent.  In addition to exposing the organization to legal liability, visits to inappropriate sites cause other serious issues such as lost productivity and wasted bandwidth.

To read the full article about the EPA official click here.

 

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March Madness Starts This Week! – Estimated $1.9 billion Lost for Every Unproductive Hour

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

This week is the beginning of one of the most popular events of the year… March Madness!  An exciting month for sports fans everywhere!

The exMarch Madnesscitement during the tournament is addictive! Employees have office pools and discuss the games all through the day. The trouble with March Madness? It occurs during the work day. “An average of 10.7 million people watched March Madness games in 2013, the most since 1994.” During this time, an organization does need to worry.

Management needs to be concerned about low productivity, “An MSN poll in 2012 found that 56% of respondents, equivalent to 77.1 million employees, planned to devote at least one hour to March Madness. Using those figures, the damages rise to $1.9 billion for every unproductive hour.” IT, as well as management, needs to worry about the risk of lower bandwidth for critical business operations, “Turner Sports, which operates the NCAA’s website, said 6.8 million unique visitors watched games online during the first week of last year’s tournament. Visitors spent an average of 1 hour and 51 minutes online each time they opened a stream.” These disruptions can cause major problems with the normal operations of any business.

March Madness begins March 18th and runs through the beginning of April. Revisit your organization’s AUP and let your employees know the negative impact their actions could have on the organization.

It is a good time to think seriously about making one of Wavecrest Computing’s CyBlock Advanced Web Security solutions a priority. Whether you are thinking you would like to block all access to sports, or thinking you would like to allow some time for your employees to enjoy March Madness while maintaining control over crucial business operations. CyBlock Advanced Web Security solutions can do both. CyBlock can easily block sports or, just as easily, allow for filtering by time frame. Implement flexible filtering by day, hour, or half hour while controlling bandwidth, threat protection, and enforcing your AUP in an easy to manage interface. With deployments options of CyBlock Cloud with the optional CyBlock Mobile Security App, CyBlock Software, CyBlock ISA/TMG, or CyBlock Appliance, Wavecrest can help you find the solution that you need now.  Many of these options can be up and running the day you purchase. Do not wait until the Final Four’s final basket!

 

*Excerpts from Foxbusiness.com, March Madness Ready to Distract Workers Nationwide, By Matthew Rocco Published March 11, 2014

March Madness

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Wavecrest Computing has heard about it every year for 15 years–companies complaining that their bandwidth is slow and their overall productivity is down, all during March and early April! What is going on? Madness, they say…March Madness!

The bandwidth strain can be a big problem. According to a recent survey, 66 percent of workers say they’ll follow the games during work hours, with 20 percent expecting to spend one to two hours following games, 14 percent spending three to four hours, and 16 percent saying they will spend five hours or more watching games instead of working.*

How do you control this type of bandwidth usage? While you may or may not allow your employees to follow the games at work, you will want to ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your network. Wavecrest Computing offers Internet filtering by category or site, white list filtering, real-time Web monitoring, and detailed Web-use reports on a particular category or site and bandwidth usage. Some of the many Wavecrest CyBlock features that monitor bandwidth or access to sports sites are:

  • Real-Time Bandwidth Monitor
  • Top Sites Bandwidth Chart
  • Top Groups Bandwidth Chart

For more information on CyBlock and a free trial download, see CyBlock Core Features.

* March Madness – Challenger, Gray and Christmas, Inc. 3/13/2013

What employers need to know about online holiday shopping

Monday, November 19th, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Christmas is coming, and it’s time to find the best deals and research the best products. And where does everyone go these days to find the deals and do their product research?  You guessed it. The Internet.  Should employers be concerned with this? Absolutely!  Online shopping results in significant productivity losses, excessive bandwidth usage and serious threats to cybersecurity.

Lost productivity can mean big bucks for your company. A recent study by Comscore found that 50% of all online holiday purchases occur during working hours. For the companies in the study, the typical productivity loss during the short holiday season averages $15,000.

Adding insult to injury, the additional traffic will lead to network slowdowns due to significant increases in bandwidth usage. Just as they did in previous years, online retailers are now preparing bandwidth-hogging promotional videos to help sell their products. Remember last year?  On Cyber Monday 2011, video views increased by 897 percent over the previous year. And now the number of views this coming Cyber Monday are expected to exceed last year’s. So, it is critical to prevent vital bandwidth from being consumed by non-productive Web-use.

Contributing to the danger, hackers and identity thieves are very aware of these online shopping patterns. They are fully prepared to deceive online holiday shoppers with very appealing schemes – “deals” that require them to click a link to special discount or filling in personal information before they can get the deal. These acts can lead to malware infection or pose significant risks to your organization’s network and sensitive data.

The peak period for all these holiday-related problems is coming soon. The Comscore study tells us that 80% of all annual online purchases occur between Nov 26th (CyBer Monday) and Dec 14th.  So now is a good time to remind your employees of your organization’s Web-use policy and make sure you have the right protections in place.

Dennis McCabe, President of Wavecrest Computing, recommends that companies monitor and/or filter employee Web-use to better protect themselves from lost productivity, excessive bandwidth usage and security threats. His company is ready to help them do this.  Easy to use and priced to fit any budget, Wavecrest products are tailored to address all aspects of Web-use management reliably and cost-effectively.

About Wavecrest

Since 1996, Wavecrest Computing has developed, marketed, and supported a spectrum of innovative Internet usage monitoring, analysis, filtering, and reporting solutions. Their products help all types of organizations manage employees’ online activities, ensure compliance with acceptable use policies, preclude legal liability and prevent bandwidth abuse. Founded 15 years ago, their client base has grown to more than 3,000 organizations, including many prominent Fortune 500 companies and high-profile government agencies.

Managing Bandwidth to Cut Unnecessary Costs

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

save bandwidth, save money

Inappropriate Web use resulting in excessive bandwidth consumption is often the primary culprit behind network issues. Typically, the worst offenders are social networking, video and music streaming, gaming sites, and browser-based file sharing. These are all widely accepted applications for use on corporate networks but the majority of them are often operating unchecked, opening your entire network up to bandwidth hogs, productivity-draining activity, and security risks.

There are multiple policies you can implement to monitor your bandwidth, so which one is right for your business? Pay attention to patterns: How much of your company’s bandwidth is being consumed by non-productive Web use? Who were the top users of bandwidth on your company’s network? Both questions seem easy enough to answer, but this data is oftentimes scattered around your network, especially if you have multiple data centers. Without easy access to these insights, many companies are simply unaware of possible lost revenue due to bandwidth congestion. Fortunately, Wavecrest Computing’s CyBlock Proxy solution now offers bandwidth management in addition to the Web filtering and reporting tools favored by many.

From within our solution, you can easily create multiple ‘category-control’ or ‘group-control’ policies that can be activated when usage reaches specified thresholds of consumption. Typically, customers set these thresholds at points that reflect how closely they want actual consumption to approach total available bandwidth before imposing restrictions. Once a policy is activated, policy-specified traffic is throttled one or more degrees of restriction on lower priority Web applications, allowing business-critical applications (VoIP, CRM, etc) to continue operating as needed.

While most other solutions base their throttling process on overall traffic volume rather than on the contents of the Internet packets, CyBlock Proxy breaks the traffic down into content categories and bases its controls on those categories rather than just volume. Alternatively, throttling can be imposed on selected users or groups, regardless of the content they’re seeking. The general concept is to synergistically combine your organization’s particular Internet and bandwidth usage policies with CyBlock Proxy’s customizable bandwidth throttling technology. Before you consider paying for more bandwidth, first leverage CyBlock Proxy’s built-in bandwidth management functionality (at no additional cost) by throttling the top non-critical bandwidth users. This feature has already provided businesses with the insight needed to most efficiently manage and utilize their Web traffic.

CyBlock Proxy New Release Version 6.7.0

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Application use and non-web-based traffic are oftentimes the primary culprits degrading your network speed.  As much as 70% of your company’s bandwidth is likely being consumed by non-productive pursuits — now is the time to address your poor network performance, slow applications, and bandwidth congestion.  CyBlock Proxy’s latest release of Version 6.7.0 enables administrators to easily manage access to the ever-expanding world of web applications — ensuring maximum network speed and optimum Internet / Intranet performance. 

  • Version 6.7.0 Enhancements
    • Bandwidth Throttling
    • Search Term Matching
    • Web Site Domain Matching
    • Path and Parameter Matching
    • Coaching
    • Filtering by Day and Time
    • Report Time Filter

Our latest release will relieve you from daily grunt work by automatically enforcing your organization’s Internet use policy, rapidly improving employee productivity and blocking Internet threats, freeing you up to work on other areas of importance to your organization and your career.  You can download the latest release by going to the Administration – Product Update screen.

For Product News: Administrators have the option of receiving product news alerts via email.  This setting is found on the Administration – Product News – Setup page.  NOTE: The default setting is “Do not email.”

CyBlock Proxy upgrades are free to current Wavecrest customers.  To download yours, login at CyBlock Proxy Downloads.

Read complete release notes with the full list of enhancements and corrections.  For additional assistance, please feel free to contact us today!

Monitoring Internet Usage … From the IT Department

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

During July, August, and September of 2011, Commtouch assessed categories of Web sites most likely to be home to malware, below are the top ranking offenders.  The Portals category includes those sites offering free hosting which are often abused to publish malware and phishing content or will redirect to sites with this content.

What were the most-visited categories by your employees during 2011?

Are you currently monitoring and/or blocking the existing Spyware/Malicious, Phishing/Fraud, Public Proxy, and Hacking categories to help protect your network?

Source: Commtouch

In today’s wired workplace, internet security and bandwidth consumption are top concerns for IT professionals while employee productivity and legal liability ail management and HR professionals.  As a major contributor to the Web-use management effort, IT typically becomes deeply involved in planning, testing, selecting, installing, and administering Internet monitoring software.  With the different departments playing a role in deciding on the best product to fit their vast needs, most are left without a solution.  Fortunately, Wavecrest’s products have been reviewed by our customers as meeting each role’s needs most effectively, offering manager-ready, easy-to-interpret reports that can be accessed without the IT personnel in addition to providing a robust, truly scalable IT-friendly remedy.

With Wavecrest Computing, customers have the insight needed to proactively monitor / block the notorious malicious sites based on custom categories, the Wavecrest Control List, and a real-time deep packet analysis process.  Plus, our 19 comprehensive templates provide a variety of summarized and detailed Web-use activity reports on users, groups, categories, sites, acceptability ratings, and bandwidth consumption.  Conveniently import your current Web Use Policy to easily customize or classify categories, implement abuse thresholding, and monitor employee productivity while our Administrator and Operator Accounts allow for non-IT personnel to create and obtain their role-specific reports.

While serving a diverse mixture of commercial businesses, industrial firms, government agencies, military units, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations since 1996, our products continue to present the most up-to-date, proactive coverage in line with the one factor that underlies all Web-use management issues, human online activity. Wavecrest’s managers and developers understand human resource management well and we use that knowledge to develop features that prevent productivity losses, legal liability problems, network issues, and unnecessary costs.

What’s Hogging Your Company’s Bandwidth? Causes for Slow Network Speed this Holiday.

Friday, December 2nd, 2011

If you haven’t noticed, online holiday shopping lasts well beyond Cyber Monday.  According to a ComScore report, after the 2010 holiday shopping season, more than 85% of Americans online visited a retail site in December of last year.  Employees shopping online at work are likely causing critical applications, like Voice over IP (VoIP) and video conferencing, to perform poorly if at all.  The last thing you and your company need is network latency or slowdowns due to non-work related online activity.  Many of our clients are seeing a spike in bandwidth usage from shopping websites and have quickly taken measures to filter browsing to that category.  Which sites consumed the most bandwidth for your company this month?  Determine what factors are impacting your network speed before you decide to purchase more bandwidth – an expense that could be avoided with the right tools and a bit of discipline.

With 19 different types of highly customizable employee Web-use reports, Cyfin Reporter offer insights as to which types of traffic consume the maximum volume throughout the workday.  Monitor, filter, and report over 500 million Web pages in 74 categories and set throttling thresholds for sites that are slowing your company’s Internet speed with CyBlock Proxy.  Now is the time to address your poor network performance, slow applications, and bandwidth congestion.

We’re so sure you’ll benefit from our solutions that we offer a free 30-day product trial. Both products provide quantified data to help IT personnel keep track of bandwidth utilization by users as well as by type of usage (appropriate versus not so appropriate). After you’ve downloaded our products, take advantage of the User Comparison Trend Chart to detect unexpected spikes that could indicate excessive bandwidth or Web use.  Then review your Top Sites Bandwidth Chart (example seen below) and find out which ten sites are consuming the most bandwidth or had the most hits or visits for the time period you specify.

Top Sites Bandwidth Chart

 

Top Sites Bandwidth Chart for both Cyfin and CyBlock

Online Holiday Shopping Can Cost Your Business More Than Time

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Online Shopping Risks

Cyber Monday is no more – in an uncertain economy, post-Thanksgiving online holiday shopping has increased since coined in 2005 and now lasts for one month with more than 50% of all online spending taking place during working hours1.  What does this mean for your business?  A large decrease in employee productivity, a boost in bandwidth consumption, and one of the most popular times for cybercriminals to attack your secure data.

Lost productivity can mean big bucks for your company, reducing employee output to a mere 60%2.  A survey by CareerBuilder states that more than half of the 4,000 respondents polled intend on shopping online while at work with one third of those planning for more than one hour each day, in addition to the two typical hours daily already reported by respondents (time excludes lunch hour and scheduled breaks).  If you do not have a Web-use policy or Internet Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in place, one is necessary to help report, monitor, and prevent employee Internet abuse in addition to protecting your company from legal liability.

Downloading malware is another risk as employees use the Internet for personal reasons. Spyware and malicious code are big threats to company networks as they can consume bandwidth and compromise security.  Recent studies show that company networks are being infected with spyware and malicious code most often through employees surfing the Web; with the holidays increasing that risk, these threats make it imperative for companies to enforce an AUP to protect their networks. Wavecrest Computing suggests that companies monitor and/or filter employee Web use in order to better protect themselves from security threats. In addition to the inherent risks associated with hacking your online security – loss of company reputation, destruction of company data, and the downtime employees face while systems are restored – the costs to mitigate attacks are extraordinary and rising each year.  This year, U.S. companies are expected to spend more than triple the costs spent in 20063.

To ensure these threats do not happen to your company this holiday season, run through our checklist and remember to check it twice!

  • Install all applicable system and program updates to avoid malware from infiltrating any system frailty that could have easily been patched with an update.
  • Create a Web usage policy and clearly communicate it to your employees.
  • Be cautious prior to clicking on links to different websites particularly those found on social networking sites as they’re often a hotspot for malware.
  • Avoid the use of pirated / illegal software as many contain malware.
  • Never open email attachments from unknown senders and make sure to scan attachments you do decide to download.
  • Make steps to consistently back up your computer in the case that malware wipes your hard drive clean.
  • Monitor servers and security devices 24x7x365 for security issues and require preventative actions be taken on security threats in real time – this is where we come in!

CyBlock can be set up to block Web access by categories and by hour so employees can access shopping sites on their lunch break or after hours. This approach can help sustain morale while minimizing the risks associated with online shopping.  With Cyfin, you can monitor employees’ Web use to ensure that Web-use policies are followed or that unwanted spyware or malware is not downloaded as a result.  Let us guide you to a safer, more reliable, robust security solution with exceptional support at an unbeatable price!

Sources:

1https://blog.comscore.com/2011/11/cyber_monday_work_computers.html

2 https://www.wavecrest.net/editorial/costsavings.html

3https://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/technology/1107/gallery.cyber_security_costs/index.html?iid=EL

 

Online Holiday Shopping Is Coming Soon

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

With the holiday season coming up, now is a good time to remind your employees of your organization’s Web-use policy.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner, and many employees may want to do some pre-searching and shopping to find those upcoming holiday deals. Online holiday shopping can generate network security and performance issues and be a huge productivity waster for businesses.

If you have CyBlock, your product can be set up to block Web access by categories and by hour so employees can access shopping sites on their lunch break or after hours. This approach can help sustain morale while minimizing the risks associated with online shopping. If you have Cyfin, you can monitor employees’ Web use to ensure that Web-use policies are followed or that unwanted spyware or malware is not downloaded as a result.