More Businesses Monitoring Employees’ Internet Use

Monday, September 14th, 2009

More businesses are monitoring their employees’ use of the Internet due to a constantly evolving Internet and increased security and productivity concerns.  A recent article, “Big Employer May Be Watching,” from the Tampa Bay Business Journal discusses these concerns in more detail and provides advice from various IT professionals in the field of Employee Internet Management.  Below is a snippet of the article with advice from Wavecrest Computing’s VP of Business Development, Dennis McCabe.

The reasons why companies monitor employees has changed over time, said Dennis McCabe, VP of business development at Wavecrest Computing Inc., a developer of management software based in Melbourne.

After the burst of the dot-com bubble companies grew increasingly concerned with productivity. The concern later shifted to security issues posed by unwanted e-mail or “spam.” Productivity is once again a concern with the economic downturn, as well as security within a company, he said.

“This is not a firewall where you might have unknown hackers that might attack you. These are people working in your building, colleagues,” McCabe said.

Communication between management and staff is essential.

“You need informed management about how employees are using it and based on companies’ philosophy,” McCabe said. “They need to formulate a policy based on that.”

New Releases: CyBlock 5.9.3 and Cyfin 7.9.3

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Wavecrest Computing recently released new versions of its CyBlock and Cyfin products. Some enhancements included are:

  • Enhancement – Arrays. More synchronization functionality has been added. Synchronization automatically takes place now when adding a new member (secondary machine) to an array. Also, using the synchronization button sends configuration parameters from the primary machine to all secondary machines. Note: This feature is not available for the CyBlock Appliance.
  • Enhancement – Backups. Product configuration data is now backed up daily and stored in compressed files. The ability to restore the product to any of your daily backups is now available at the Administration – Restore screen. Note: This feature is not available for arrays.
  • Correction – Screen name change. The screen Advanced Settings – Report Settings – Advanced Options replaces the screen that was initially named Advanced Settings – Report Settings – Preferences.

For full release notes on the products, please visit the forum at https://forum.wavecrest.net/index.php. Current customers can download the latest release from their product by going to the Administration – Product Update screen.

Increased Visits to Porn Sites At Work

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

With high unemployment rates and the potential of them rising even more, you would think that employees are doing whatever they can to be productive and keep their jobs.  Instead, according to a study by Nielson Online in October 2008, visits to porn sites at work is up 23 percent from the previous year.  This means that almost one quarter of employees are visiting porn sites during the workday.  “Hits to porn sites are highest during office hours than at any other time of day,” according to M.J. McMahon, publisher of AVN Online magazine, which tracks the adult video industry.

Some analysts believe that it has to do with the declining economy and people looking for an escape, while others speculate that it has to do with a younger generation in the workforce that has grown up accepting porn as a part of life.

Regardless, porn surfing at work poses a major legal liability risk for businesses.  This type of activity puts the employer at serious risk of being sued by other workers who are offended or upset by being exposed to pornographic images. Such suits usually take the form of ‘sexual harassment’ or ‘hostile workplace’ litigation and can be very costly in terms of damage to reputation as well as legal costs.  In addition to the legal costs, businesses also have to be concerned about costs due to loss of productivity.

In fact, the Senate Finance Committee is investigating the misuse of NSF computers by government officials to view online pornographic material. In one instance, the report cites an NSF “senior official” who allegedly spent 20 percent of his work hours “viewing sexually explicit” Web sites. This amounts to a potential loss of $58,000 in employee compensation.

According to Salary.com, the average employee wastes 2.09 hours a day on the Internet.  An average administrative employee costs a company $37.84 per hour according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics.  For a company with 1,000 employees, this amounts to over $18 million in productivity losses in a year.

A simple and cost-effective way employers can help ensure that employees use the Internet for productive purposes and not visit sites that pose a legal liability threat to the company is to filter and/or monitor Web access.  Wavecrest Computing offers Internet filtering and monitoring products CyBlock and Cyfin, to fit any organization’s needs.  The average cost for a Wavecrest product with a 1000-employee license is $3,500 per year. This is less than two tenths of one percent of the cost of lost productivity, making an Internet filtering or monitoring solution well worth the investment.

Sources:
https://www.newsweek.com/id/171279
https://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/01/28/grassley-launches-inquiry-widespread-porn-charges-nsf/

Configuration Backup for CyBlock and Cyfin

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Before the end of the year, all of us at Wavecrest would like to wish all of our customers and readers a Happy Holiday and Happy New Year!  We also wanted to leave you with one final product tip for the year.

If you are ever concerned about losing your configuration in your CyBlock or Cyfin product, there is no need to worry.  A backup of the configuration files for your CyBlock or Cyfin product is created on a nightly basis in a folder called ‘restore’.  This backup is stored in daily files for the past 30 days.  Therefore, if you ever lose any configuration for any reason, our technical support team can retrieve this data from you. Simply contact technical support for instructions on sending the proper information, and they will extract the file and send it back to you.

You can contact technical support by phone at 321-953-5351, ext. 4 or by email at support@wavecrest.net.

U.S. Department of Justice Monitors Web Use with Cyfin Reporter

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) recently renewed Cyfin Reporter for the seventh consecutive year.  Cyfin Reporter enables the DOJ to conduct up to 100,000 employees’ Web usage simultaneously. The Department continues to use Cyfin Reporter because of its robust performance, accuracy and scalability and the many benefits it provides, i.e., improved productivity and decreases in bandwidth consumption, legal liability and security threats.

It’s important for employers to ensure that their employees are using the Internet in a productive manner and are not accessing sites that hurt productivity or degrade network performance.  Cyfin Reporter helps organizations do this by providing actionable and accurate employee Web-use investigations. Its features include automatic abuse detection, interactive drill-down, and a report scheduler that runs and distributes reports automatically.

Dennis McCabe, Vice President of Business Development at Wavecrest Computing, states, “the great thing about Cyfin Reporter is that it not only allows organizations to monitor ‘bad’ sites, but it also allows them to monitor those sites that employees should be utilizing on a regular basis, e.g., the company’s Web site or intranet.”  This is what makes Cyfin Reporter a truly effective tool for managing Web use.

For 12 years, Wavecrest Computing has been providing Internet filtering and monitoring solutions to business, government, and educational organizations worldwide.  Wavecrest’s customer base includes well-known names such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, Procter and Gamble, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, Bridgestone, Mazda and many others.  Government agencies and educational institutions can purchase Wavecrest products through GSA’s Federal Supply Schedule at a substantial discount.

Finding System Information for CyBlock or Cyfin

Friday, July 18th, 2008

There’s a quick and easy way to get system and configuration information on your CyBlock or Cyfin product.  Just go to Help – System Information – Server Information on your product’s menu, and it will take you to the Server Information screen, which gives you the:

  • License Information
  • Number of Data Configurations (CyBlock ISA and Cyfin Reporter)
  • Install Directory Path
  • Communication Port
  • Memory Usage
  • URL List Configuration
  • Email Configuration


You will also find your various directory configurations on this screen for your Scheduler Directory, Email Reports and more.  This is a great screen to check out to find out how much available memory you have, if the URL list is properly configured, and where your configuration files are located.

The Dangers of Public Proxies

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

Introduction.
Public proxies are often used by employees or students who want to get around Web filters and/or avoid being identified by Internet logging. In other words, public proxies allow individuals to surf the Web “anonymously.”

The way public proxies work is by making the requested Web site appear to be going to a Web address other than the address of the site actually being requested. They act like a “middle man.” When a Web site is requested, the request is sent to the public proxy, which forwards the request to the original destination, and then returns the site that was requested.

Problems with Public Proxies.
The claim that a public proxy hides a user’s identity may sound safe, but the fact is that public proxies that are used to get around filters can be very dangerous to the user and his/her company or school.

Many public proxies promote spyware or malware activity. They are created to gather user information, or even worse, company information on an employee’s computer. They often log an individual’s online browsing, emails, and chat sessions to gather user names, passwords, credit card or banking information. Some of the information gained, e.g., email addresses, is often used to sell to other companies for marketing purposes.

Solutions.
An enormous and fast-growing number of dangerous public proxy sites exist around the world with new ones popping up every day. Many of them even change their IP addresses at frequent intervals. For these reasons, it is totally impossible to completely solve the problem with technical approaches alone.

Instead, there are several steps you can take to prevent or identify the use of public proxies. The first is to make sure your company or school’s acceptable use policy and consequences of breaking that policy are clearly communicated.

Secondly, back up your AUP by filtering and/or monitoring employees and students’ Web access. Many public proxies use IP addresses to avoid easy detection, so a spike in IP address visits could be an indication that an employee or student may be using one. Wavecrest Computing’s CyBlock and Cyfin Internet filtering and monitoring software have categories for both public proxies and IP addresses.

Finally, make sure that your employees or students are aware of the security dangers associated with public proxies. Many are not aware of the security risk associated with public proxies and may be less inclined to use one if they are educated on the dangers they pose to the user and his/her company or school.

Welcome to the Wavecrest Computing Blog

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

Welcome to the official Wavecrest Computing blog. Now you can stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates to Wavecrest’s CyBlock and Cyfin Internet filtering and monitoring software products. This means that you’ll learn about new product features that you’ve been wanting, and any enhancements or updates to the products. It will also be a resource where you can get tips and best practices for using your CyBlock or Cyfin product as a Web-use management tool.

With that said, we’ll get this first post started with our latest update to Cyfin Reporter. This latest version includes an:

  • Event Log. This log is automatically created in the product and logs when the product is started or stopped, when someone logs into or out of the product, product errors and more.
  • Import Data Job Queue. All import data jobs sent to the job queue are now sorted by their start time, processing the oldest first and the newest last.
  • MSDE Log Data Correction. Problems with configuration and receiving data in reports in previous versions of the product are now corrected.

You are welcome to view the release notes on our technical support forum at https://forum.wavecrest.net. You can download the latest version of Cyfin Reporter directly through your product by going to Administration – Product Update.

Finally, we hope that you will find this blog beneficial by either subscribing to the feed or visiting it every once in a while to see what’s new!