It is holiday shopping time again! Cyber Monday is now more like Cyber Month!

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we all know what is coming–Cyber Monday–the big day (now it is more like a month!) for personal employee Web use! More than ever before, businesses are open to employee use of the company Internet for personal use such as snagging some holiday deals. But what does this really mean for daily business operations? That depends.

There are definitely cyber risks associated with the season of shopping–malicious ads, phishing e-mails with malicious Web links, and slow bandwidth, to name a few. Paying attention to your employees’ Web usage is crucial. It is up to you whether you allow shopping on your network. If you do, there are steps you should take to manage this naturally vulnerable human endpoint.

  • Filter
    • Filtering allows you to reduce risks from malicious URLs in ads, phishing, etc. . . . employees are your weakest link. Train them continuously but also make sure there is a Web filtering solution in place to allow you to manage the Web use the way you see fit.
  • Manage Bandwidth Usage
    • This time of year employees may be doing things such as watching a video review of the latest in tech toys for their kids. Make sure your mission-critical operations are not affected. Configuring bandwidth limits by user-defined thresholds and setting trigger alerts will help you make sure you don’t have unnecessary bandwidth hogs slowing your business down.
  • Monitor Web use
    • Visibility means everything. With the right monitoring solution, you can easily analyze employee Web-usage trends, make sure your Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) is being followed, and get actionable, relevant detail when you need it.

These are only a few of the things that you can do to help reduce the risks associated with employee Web use all year long. Remember that human vulnerabilities are a leading cause of most network breaches. Focus on the human endpoint. Take the time to keep training employees, enforcing your AUP, monitoring, analyzing, and filtering.

At this time of year, you can feel good about allowing your employees some freedom to research or snag some holiday gift deals. Have a comprehensive employee Web filtering and monitoring solution in place, and enjoy your holidays even more knowing you are proactively managing employee Web activity!

About Wavecrest

Wavecrest has over 20 years of proven history of providing reliable, accurate Web-use management and Advanced Log File Analyzer products across various industries. Managed Service Providers, IT specialists, HR professionals, Forensics Investigators, and business managers trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to manage the human factor in business Internet usage — managing cloud services, reducing liability risks, improving productivity, saving bandwidth, and controlling costs. Trusted by large government and commercial organizations such as US-CERT Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Justice, USPS Office of Inspector General, National Grid, Johns Hopkins, and a growing list of global enterprises and government agencies. We are a proud long-term GSA contract holder. For more information on the company, products, and partners, visit https://www.wavecrest.net.

Are your employees full of March Madness? They will be!

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

March Madness always produces a high level of anticipation and excitement. It ranks up there with the Super Bowl and the World Cup for many people. So fans want to make sure they see the games that for every year, the amount of series streaming surpasses expectations. We can all watch them on our phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops at any time and anywhere. Because of this, many managers now allow for some freedom during this time, so their employees can get their yearly March Madness fix. But there are risks to the business to always consider.

Some March Madness 2016 statistics from NCAA to consider:

  • With 18.1 million live hours, the tournament generated more video consumption than any other tournament.
  • The national championship game generated 56 million impressions across March Madness social media accounts, up 112 percent over 2015.
  • Video consumption for social media was also up with 8 million views overall, more than five times the volume of video for last year’s championship game.

Is your business ready?

The first thing that pops into a manager’s mind is increased bandwidth use. It is an important thing to consider for sure since your business has mission-critical functions that have to run for your business to operate efficiently, even during increased Internet use. Making sure you can control and monitor bandwidth use by throttling nonessential traffic if needed, is critical to making the decision to allow streaming during any time, but especially during events like March Madness.

The things that may not immediately come to a manager’s mind may be the increase in malicious links generated during times of special events. In a world with cyber threats, such as ransomware, a business cannot ignore times when this risk increases. March Madness is a time when many keep track of all the games, not just their one team. They follow the process through the whole series and enjoy the competitive nature right down to the Final Four and beyond. They may be more prone to fall for a March Madness ad link for a stat update or phishing e-mail to check the latest game highlights. During the whole series and even before it starts, educating your employees about the increase in cyber threats, such as malicious Web sites and ads, and phishing e-mails, is important. Security solutions that offer features like white/black listing and filtering will allow you to maintain Web-use protection against the human tendency to click without analyzing if the link or e-mail makes sense.

Don’t just lock up employee Web-use. Protect your business and employees from threats, such as bandwidth hogs, malicious Web links, legal liabilities, and even productivity losses. Gain the control and security needed . . . and once again, let the games begin!

About Wavecrest Computing

Trusted for over 20 years, Wavecrest Computing, headquartered in historic downtown Melbourne, FL, has provided commercial business and government clients with reliable, accurate Web-use management and Cloud Access Security Broker products since 1996. Managed Service Providers, IT specialists, HR professionals, and business managers trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to manage employee Internet usage — managing cloud services, reducing liability risks, improving productivity, saving bandwidth, and controlling costs. Wavecrest has clients worldwide, including General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Florida Department of Health, Siemens, Department of Homeland Security, and a growing list of global enterprises and government agencies. We are a proud long-term GSA contract holder. For more information on the company, products, and partners, visit https://www.wavecrest.net.

Keep Mission-Critical Applications Running Smoothly

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

bandwdithKeep mission-critical applications running smoothly with Bandwidth Management in CyBlock Cloud, including Wavecrest’s exclusive Web content category level throttling or blocking capability.

Even with corporate Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs), the majority of an organization’s Web traffic is often operating unchecked, opening the entire network up to bandwidth hogs, productivity-draining activity, and security risks. With Bandwidth Management in CyBlock Cloud, easily create user-defined policies and configure multiple-usage thresholds to dynamically trigger caps.

As a business that understands the necessity, or just desirability, of employees’ access to the Internet, do you worry about when there is too much nonessential Web activity? Maybe Facebook or Pandora is clogging your bandwidth? Wavecrest has the solution that can help specifically target and throttle Web content category-based traffic, such as social networking or audio streaming. With Bandwidth Management in CyBlock, gain the ability to allow access, but be more restrictive as the usage gets higher by setting one of your higher usage thresholds to throttle more or completely block nonessential categories or user groups.  Set e-mail alerts to keep you informed wherever you are, knowing that your defined policies are automatically triggered and proactively taking care of the issue. Once a policy is activated, policy-specific traffic is throttled or blocked, allowing business-critical applications (VoIP, CRM, etc.) to continue operating as needed.

Now including Bandwidth Management, CyBlock Cloud provides comprehensive Web controls, threat protection, reporting, simplified management, and more — all in a deployment requiring no hardware or software to buy and install, and no maintenance.

 

Wavecrest has a solution for virtually every configuration. Learn more:https://www.wavecrest.net/

 

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:

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

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

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