Remote Working & Managing Internet Use

Thursday, March 12th, 2020
Specifically built to serve remote and roaming users, CyBlock Cloud will follow your users to wherever they are working.
Specifically built to serve remote and roaming users, CyBlock Cloud will follow your users to wherever they are working.

We all hope this coronavirus doesn’t last long. That’s clear. But because of this, companies seem to be realizing that social distancing is a good idea, and they can have people working remotely in a positive way. Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft – the list keeps growing. They are taking this head-on and moving their employees off-site, potentially protecting their entire workforce from an onsite health crisis.

How does remote working fit into work overall? The numbers that come out of all this should be interesting, especially the numbers for the companies that finally realize they can operate this way and not lose any control over Internet security, productivity, liability, and more. Buzzfeed reports in its March 4th article*, “some in the industry are looking at the outbreak as a test case for the long-gestating but never-arriving moment when working remotely will broadly replace working in person.”

Many businesses have traveling workers. Salespeople, Technical Support staff, and others, but now we are looking at the driving force being something out of our control. The businesses that have made this decision are supporting a healthy workforce as a whole. Businesses that do choose to do this also know that they are still responsible for employees’ online activity. So how does a company support its business when its workforce is scattered everywhere?

The answer is a comprehensive Internet use management solution with an easy, flexible cloud deployment that travels with your employees. So, for example, the employee goes home with a company laptop, the company Internet use would be managed by the cloud solution.

What should you look for when looking at Internet-use cloud solutions?

  • Should deploy in minutes with simple, intuitive steps.
  • Follows users with perimeter-less coverage.
  • Is an easily scalable, highly elastic, and adaptable solution.
  • Always-on filtering with User/Group filter policies. 
  • Provides fast, efficient, manager-ready reporting.
  • Has no hardware installation and no maintenance.

CyBlock Cloud can provide all this and more. Specifically built to serve remote and roaming users, CyBlock Cloud will follow your users to wherever they are working.

Now is the best time to be prepared. Our Sales Team and Technical Staff are ready to help you get setup and going. We are all in this together! Contact us today at info@wavecrest.net.

About Us

CyBlock® Employee Web Filtering and Monitoring Solutions provide advanced Web filtering, threat protection, comprehensive employee reporting, Smart Engine with machine-learning analytics, easy-to-use admin and manager portals, and more. Customers can easily configure CyBlock to monitor and manage compliance with their usage policies. CyBlock is available in various deployment options: CyBlock Virtual Appliance, CyBlock Appliance, CyBlock Mini Appliance, CyBlock Cloud, and CyBlock Hybrid.

Cyfin® provides advanced employee Web-use analysis and reporting for a wide variety of gateway devices and log file formats. Comprehensive yet easy to use, its customizable reporting and machine-learning analytics supply audience-specific Web-use information with reliable metrics, easy-to-read reporting dashboards, manager-ready detailed audit reports, and Smart Engine analytics. Cyfin is available in various deployment options: Cyfin Virtual Appliance and Cyfin Forensic.

Wavecrest® has over 20 years of proven history of providing reliable, accurate Web-use management, filtering, reporting, and analytics products across various industries. IT specialists, business managers, HR professionals, Managed Service Providers, and Forensics Investigators trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to easily decipher and manage real employee Web activity, manage cloud services, reduce liability risks, improve productivity, save bandwidth, and control 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 Wavecrest.

*The Coronavirus Is Forcing Techies To Work From Home. Some May Never Go Back The Office, buzzfeed.com, March 2020.

This year, allow your employees some freedom to watch March Madness!

Friday, March 6th, 2020
Time to celebrate basketball!

One of basketball’s biggest events is here again. The past few months have been pretty emotional for fans. This may very well make this year’s March Madness even more focused and passionate for everyone. You can choose to let your employees catch up on results with maintaining the visibility, control, and security you need to keep your business running smoothly.

This year, Wavecrest Computing offers tips that you should know from past years but also some important new ones. Having customizable reports and the ability to see rollups of time spent online, we know these new tips will help you keep up with the changes in technology and streaming!

Let’s start with these new tips! We know seeing the real Web browsing activity should not be time-consuming and cumbersome: especially for busy managers, HR, legal, and yes, even IT. So, making sure the information is easy to understand is critical for your business all year but especially during a heavy Internet-use time.

  • Make sure your managers have access to see the info they need, when they need it, with their own restricted access. Manager Portal is a key component for business. 
  • Be sure you can customize reports for each manager so they can quickly and easily see their own employees’ Web usage without a lot of extra technical data. Customizable Report Templates and their drag-and-drop features makes life so much easier!
  • Roll it all up please! It’s important to know how much time is really spent on a web site. But with all the noise caused by ads, like buttons, share buttons, images, videos, and more…how do you know the real intentional activity you are looking for? Roll it all up under an understandable heading! Managers want to see activity for Facebook, ESPN, or NCAA! Tagging and rollup is the only thing that makes that available!

And of course, the tips you should already know to keep your business in good shape during this exciting time of year:

  • Not all ads or search results are real. March Madness search results or ads have been known for malware. Filtering, black/white listing, whatever way you choose. This is crucial!
  • Restrict sites that are inappropriate or illegal. Be aware of what your employees are doing online. Gambling sites are not just a legal issue but also tend to carry many security risks. Category filtering allows you to pick the whole category to block, the rest is taken care of.
  • Don’t let your bandwidth slow the rest of the business down. Make sure you are able to easily view and throttle current data usage for the entire enterprise, detect unexpected spikes that could indicate excessive data use, or just observe real-time updates. Throttling helps keep mission-critical business a priority, proactively.

The biggest tip for March Madness? Get your business set up with a Web-use management solution that will offer these tools all year long. Take it off your plate and breeze through the constant ups and downs of Internet usage. Shopping seasons, streaming seasons, current events…let them stay up to date without worrying about what it will do to your bottom line. Employees happy can easily outweigh the concerns during these times of more than usual Internet use. Be proactive… and let them celebrate.

Let us help.

This year, choose to allow your employees some freedom to watch and enjoy! Find out more about all the Web management product lines at Wavecrest Computing.

About Us

CyBlock® Employee Web Filtering and Monitoring Solutions provide advanced Web filtering, threat protection, comprehensive employee reporting, Smart Engine with machine-learning analytics, easy-to-use admin and manager portals, and more. Customers can easily configure CyBlock to monitor and manage compliance with their usage policies. CyBlock is available in various deployment options: CyBlock Virtual Appliance, CyBlock Appliance, CyBlock Mini Appliance, CyBlock Cloud, and CyBlock Hybrid.

Cyfin® provides advanced employee Web-use analysis and reporting for a wide variety of gateway devices and log file formats. Comprehensive yet easy to use, its customizable reporting and machine-learning analytics supply audience-specific Web-use information with reliable metrics, easy-to-read reporting dashboards, manager-ready detailed audit reports, and Smart Engine analytics. Cyfin is available in various deployment options: Cyfin Virtual Appliance and Cyfin Forensic.

Wavecrest has over 20 years of proven history of providing reliable, accurate Web-use management, filtering, reporting, and analytics products across various industries. IT specialists, business managers, HR professionals, Managed Service Providers, and Forensics Investigators trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to easily decipher and manage real employee Web activity, manage cloud services, reduce liability risks, improve productivity, save bandwidth, and control 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 Wavecrest.

Small can still be powerful!

Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
CyBlock Mini Appliance – Compact yet Robust!

Don’t be fooled by the name–CyBlock Mini Appliance is powerful, comprehensive, and worth every inch of its compactness. Built for managing your business’ employee Internet access in the most convenient, budget-friendly way possible!

Maintaining visibility throughout your workforce is key to running a secure business today. Don’t settle on just any Web-use management solution that really doesn’t meet your needs. If you need coverage for a remote office, have limited space either in your server room or in your office, or are struggling with how to keep your business Internet access secure with a limited IT budget, Wavecrest has more choices than ever. No matter what business size or industry type, CyBlock Mini Appliance is likely to be just what you have been looking for.

The powerful Mini Appliance provides the comprehensive Web-use management capabilities of CyBlock, including URL filtering, comprehensive detailed reporting, secure guest Wi-Fi services with captive portal, advanced threat protection, bandwidth management, cloud services management, as well as coverage for non-HTTP activity, e.g., P2P, torrents, IM, and e-mail. Get all of this in one compact and economical package. The general size of a Wi-Fi hub, the Mini allows you to put it in the corner, on your desk, or in that tiny space you have left in your packed server room!

As a cost-effective choice for any business type or size, the robust, yet compact Mini Appliance provides the leading-edge, comprehensive Web-use filtering, reporting, and security capabilities of CyBlock. Designed to fit every business environment, the Mini Appliance can be paired with CyBlock Appliance or deployed on its own, depending on the required Web-use needs.

For more information on CyBlock Mini Appliance or any of our other products, please contact us today!

About Wavecrest ComputingFor over 20 years Wavecrest Computing, headquartered in historic downtown Melbourne, FL, has been providing commercial business and government clients with reliable, accurate Web-use management, monitoring, and analytics products. Managed Service Providers, IT specialists, HR professionals, and business managers trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to monitor and 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.

Your Employees are Now Working From Just About Anywhere

Monday, April 1st, 2019
Employees Working From Anywhere Get easy-to-launch cloud-based Web filtering service. CyBlock Cloud.

“Joe is working remote today,” mentions his manager. Today, “Joe” can actually be any one of your employees. With companies now operating in so many flexible ways, employees have the opportunity to work from anywhere. (Okay, most are not working from space . . . not yet anyway!) How do managers maintain productivity? How does IT manage the usage of Internet-connected devices and associated security risks? The company is still responsible for employees’ Web use no matter where they are working from. With “Joe” being in California tomorrow and Canada next week, it is critical for the business to find the right Web-use filtering and management tool for roaming or remote workers, as well as cover the more static workforce. A cloud-based solution is the only way to go. When researching the best cloud-based Web activity filtering and management solution for your distributed workforce there are some important benefits to ask for.

  • Fast Deployment – The ability to set up and be filtering Web use in minutes.
  • Supports Unique Environments and Workforce – The solution should be highly elastic and adaptable.
  • Entire Distributed Workforce Coverage – Easily scales to all offices and users, regardless of location.
  • User-Centered Focus – Follows the user with perimeter-less coverage.
  • Cost and Time Effective – No hardware installation or maintenance.

Wavecrest can help. CyBlock Cloud is an easy-to-launch cloud-based Web filtering service. Apply regardless of employee location, without the cost of hardware or software installations and ongoing maintenance.

Let us focus on your business and your specific requirements. Contact us and speak to a U.S.-based customer service or technical support person today. We consider it part of the job to keep our prospects and customers happy.

About Us

CyBlock® Employee Web Filtering and Monitoring Solutions provide advanced Web filtering, threat protection, comprehensive employee reporting, Smart Engine analytics, easy-to-use admin and manager portals, and more. Customers can easily configure CyBlock to monitor and manage compliance with their usage policies. CyBlock is available in various deployment options: CyBlock Virtual Appliance, CyBlock Appliance, CyBlock Mini Appliance, CyBlock Cloud, and CyBlock Hybrid.

Cyfin® provides advanced employee Web-use analysis and reporting for a wide variety of gateway devices and log file formats. Comprehensive yet easy to use, its customized reporting capabilities supply audience-specific Web-use information with reliable metrics, easy-to-read reporting dashboards, manager-ready detailed audit reports, and Smart Engine analytics. Cyfin is available in various deployment options: Cyfin Virtual Appliance and Cyfin Forensic.

Wavecrest has over 20 years of proven history of providing reliable, accurate Web-use management and Advanced Log File Analyzer products across various industries. IT specialists, business managers, HR professionals, Managed Service Providers, and Forensics Investigators trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to easily decipher and manage real employee Web activity, manage cloud services, reduce liability risks, improve productivity, save bandwidth, and control 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 Wavecrest.

Really? Is it really time to think about holiday shopping? Already?!

Friday, November 9th, 2018

Manage Holiday Web Usage with CyBlock

Yes–now is the time. The holidays are right around the corner and definitely require attention now so your business can prepare for the increase in Web usage and the associated risks. There are many reasons for your business to pay close attention to Internet activity at this time of year (and all year). But there is one primary focus that could easily help with all the cyber risks to your business–managing the natural human vulnerability that cyber thieves take advantage of.

Did you know that most breaches are initially caused by employee error? “Ninety-two percent of all incidents are, and 84 percent of all data breaches were, unintentional or inadvertent in nature,” states an article from iapp.org. No matter what kind of data loss or breach it is, human error likely played a very important role.

Shopping season can bring out even more human vulnerabilities than usual. Malicious Web sites can look real and carry what looks like legitimate product offerings, advertising can be more enticing with hard-to-resist discounts, and e-mails can come from legitimate e-mail addresses hacked by these talented criminals. Humans’ emotional nature can make it hard to resist when we are all looking for that special or hard-to-get gift. It is important to make sure your business–and your employees–are protected by an easy-to-setup solution that is comprehensive and proactive.

This is easier than you think. Access to a comprehensive Web management solution will allow you to manage usage in a way that suits your unique business philosophy. This includes whether you want to allow or restrict access to certain Web sites at a particular time of day, monitor usage with reporting features by analyzing trends and tracking usage, or just meet compliance and regulation requirements.

This time of year, it is important to spend some extra time paying attention to your organization’s Web use. But Web-use management should be part of your business process and security all year round. Find a solution that is flexible enough to grow or change with you throughout the year, and for this time of year … let them shop … and know you are still being proactive and secure.

CyBlock® Employee Web Filtering and Monitoring Solutions provide advanced Web filtering, threat protection, comprehensive employee reporting, Smart Engine analytics, easy-to-use admin and manager portals, and more. Customers can easily configure CyBlock to monitor and manage compliance with their usage policies. CyBlock is available in various deployment options: CyBlock Virtual Appliance, CyBlock Appliance, CyBlock Mini Appliance, CyBlock Cloud, and CyBlock Hybrid.

Cyfin® provides advanced employee Web-use analysis and reporting for a wide variety of gateway devices and log file formats. Comprehensive yet easy to use, its customized reporting capabilities supply audience-specific Web-use information with reliable metrics, easy-to-read reporting dashboards, manager-ready detailed audit reports, and Smart Engine analytics. Cyfin is available in various deployment options: Cyfin Virtual Appliance and Cyfin Forensic.

Wavecrest has over 20 years of proven history of providing reliable, accurate Web-use management and Advanced Log File Analyzer products across various industries. IT specialists, business managers, HR professionals, Managed Service Providers, and Forensics Investigators trust Wavecrest’s Cyfin and CyBlock products to easily decipher and manage real employee Web activity, manage cloud services, reduce liability risks, improve productivity, save bandwidth, and control 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 Wavecrest.

Determining employee Web-use behavior with Smart Engine analytics

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

Determining employee Web-use behavior with Smart Engine analytics

I previously discussed that employee Web use has much to do with human behavior in the workplace, and the management of it is not just an IT issue. All stakeholders and areas of the company can help manage employee Web use effectively. With IT investing time in researching and implementing the most suitable Web filtering and monitoring solution for the organization, collaborators in the company, such as senior managers, HR, and department managers, can get the right information in the right format. Ideally the solution would include a reporting engine or Smart Engine making it possible for collaborators to get a true picture of employee behavior. Here I’ll discuss the features of a Smart Engine and its importance in deriving human behavior from Web-use data.

First of all, what is a Smart Engine? A Smart Engine is a powerful reporting engine that helps companies make informed, data-driven decisions and take action on issues concerning the proper use of their network resources. It provides direct, easy, and fast access to data, and low-latency, real-time analytics. With its elaborate, distributed system, it is highly scalable and able to handle petabytes of data. A Smart Engine is built for speed and provides a scalable solution that is optimized for analytics retrieval.

Smart Engine analytics provide the information for reporting–charts and reports–to present accurate and up-to-date Web activity. The Smart Engine utilizes algorithms that perform functions such as determining real Web browsing activity, user names, and time online from Web traffic, and categorizing URLs into logical groups based on content. Without the Smart Engine and its analytics, the reporting components could not provide the adequate information that a company needs to manage employee Web use. The Smart Engine makes technical data usable and manager-ready. Examples of its algorithms are discussed below.

The most important algorithm is one that distinguishes between real Web browsing activity from user clicks (or visits) and background Web activity (unsolicited traffic or hits) by identifying the content of each URL. True visits are actual user clicks that do not include multimedia URLs, such as images, audio Web pages, advertisements, or Web pages that were requested as part of a visit, that is, unsolicited. The differentiation between Web traffic visits and hits is of high importance for companies that want to manage the human factor. Companies can get a true, meaningful picture of the level and type of Web activity occurring in their network.

When Web filtering and reporting products do not include user names in Web traffic records, user Web activity is lost and unaccounted for. The company may not even know that this is occurring. Another algorithm performed by the Smart Engine is a user name caching algorithm that uses the cache user name if available, versus the IP address, allowing you to capture all activity of the user and get more detailed data in reporting.

When users are online, they could be reading a Web page, performing another task in a different application with the browser open, or possibly away from the computer entirely with the browser open. A time online algorithm uses a highly accurate priority method for calculating users’ time online. Managers and IT administrators can quickly see which users, categories, sites, and so on had the most volume of activity and address any potential issues, such as productivity loss, bandwidth slowdowns, and policy noncompliance.

Another algorithm that produces Smart Engine analytics is a categorization algorithm. This algorithm is designed to report on all Web activity. With the extensive content categories available in the Web filtering and monitoring tool, this algorithm categorizes the organization’s Web activity so that managers can analyze their employees’ Web usage. Proper URL categorization detects and identifies a broad range and a high percentage of total Web activity.

The Smart Engine feeds data to the reporting components of a Web monitoring and filtering tool and provides analytics for determining human behavior. You will not get this type of data directly from any firewall on the market today. The raw data itself is only information about machine/network requests. It is not about human activity, but about the machine’s response to a human request to get or push information. The Smart Engine enables companies to quickly create simple Web browsing reports and analyze current or historical Web-use data from human behavior. This human behavior data is what is truly needed to effectively manage employee Web use to keep your employees and network safe.

Read more of my articles on Web-use management on LinkedIn and the Wavecrest blog: WaveNews.

Requirements of an effective employee Web-use management program

Thursday, June 14th, 2018

Because managing employee Web use deals with humans and their actions, it is a continuous process for all sizes and types of businesses, where the goal is to ensure employees use Web access safely for productive, work-related purposes. To attain a high level of success, I believe that this process requires a Web-use management program be put in place that involves many key players in the organization, communication of the company’s Web-use policy, implementation of a reliable tool to monitor and control Web use, and other important activities. In this article, I will discuss the requirements of an effective employee Web-use management program and the activities involved that will bring about safe and productive Internet use by the workforce.

The key ingredient in an effective program is collaboration and communication among the various groups in the company, i.e., senior management, Legal department, IT personnel, HR personnel, department managers and supervisors, and employees. Communication would include IT keeping company stakeholders informed about current hacker threats, as well as HR apprising senior management of pertinent employee Web-use behavior. Collaboration would occur among HR, IT, and department managers in training the workforce. Collaboration would also take place between IT and department heads to select the appropriate Web monitoring and filtering tool.

If you don’t have one already, another necessity of a Web-use management program is to develop a sound Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) consistent with corporate culture. The AUP should describe acceptable and unacceptable Web-use behavior, i.e., company rules for what constitutes desirable, acceptable, unacceptable, and abusive use of the Internet and other network resources. The policy should also clearly state how compliance will be monitored and what the consequences will be to employees abusing the use of network resources. Does your company have an AUP in place that spells out the rules to your employees?

To ensure adherence to the Web-use policy, it should be clearly communicated to the entire workforce, including management, informing them of what is and what is not acceptable in easily understood language. You may also want to have employees acknowledge that they read and understood the policy through a signed acknowledgement. HR and management personnel should hold meetings with workgroups to answer questions and provide any additional information. This fosters open communication in the workplace and allows employees to be more engaged in proper Internet usage.

In addition to communicating the policy to all concerned, another requirement of an effective Web-use management program is training employees on how to use Web access productively and safely. Whether training is conducted or coordinated by HR or in collaboration with managers and other department personnel, training sessions should cover Internet usage and related subjects. Specifically, employees need to be made aware of what sites they are visiting and what they are clicking on the Web. The purpose of training should be to encourage proper, productive, and safe use of network resources while reinforcing the information in the AUP.

An important requirement of a Web-use management program is to use a reliable software tool that is designed specifically to monitor compliance with Web-use policies and proactively control Web access. The tool should also include a smart reporting engine that distinguishes between user clicks (visits) and unsolicited traffic (hits) and easily presents accurate and up-to-date Web-use data, identifying desirable Web usage as well as unacceptable use and trends. Does your tool include a Smart Engine that analyzes Web traffic to better interpret human behavior? Does it generate easy-to-read, manager-ready reports? Does it give details on employee Web use with drill-down reporting capability? These are key features of a Web monitoring and filtering tool that will benefit IT, HR, and department managers.

Another activity that is necessary is following up with corrective actions when inappropriate Web access is detected. With a policy in place, personnel oriented, the workforce trained, and your Web monitoring and filtering solution actively monitoring and controlling Web use, there are still more activities to do. The tool will inevitably reveal patterns of inappropriate use or disclose signs of outright abuse. These incidents will require attention by HR and management personnel. After identifying the problems, management can take appropriate follow-up actions, such as counseling employees, training or retraining workers, changing work processes, and revising or clarifying the AUP. Managers may also need to institute follow-up audits on individual users and, in worst case, take disciplinary action including termination.

The final element of an effective employee Web-use management program that I will cover involves the establishment of a continuous improvement process by the collaboration team, i.e., HR, IT, department managers, etc. In this process, there would be frequent reviews of employee Web use, new Web services introduced into the network, and new security threats, modifications of work processes, and appropriate revisions of the AUP. All company stakeholders would be involved. What other activities have been effective in your company in managing employee Web use?

Unauthorized Web use can degrade workforce productivity, impact network performance, threaten network security, and create legal liabilities. Any of these outcomes can seriously impact your bottom line. An effective employee Web-use management program is essential to prevent this from happening. If the responsibilities of an effective program are carried out well, misuse and abuse of network resources will be minimized without damaging workforce engagement and morale. Getting accurate, actionable information to all collaborators is a must, and the tool that you are using should be able to provide this information. Next time I will discuss how to get this information with reliable metrics generated by a reporting tool.

Read more of my articles on Web-use management on LinkedIn and the Wavecrest blog: WaveNews.