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.

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/

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.

Reminder: March Madness Begins Next Week

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

This is just a reminder that March Madness begins next week with the first game on Tuesday, March 18 and the first online games on Thursday, March 20. Experts estimate that more than 1.5 million employees will be watching the games from their desks and an overall potential $1.7 billion lost in productivity. And just like last year, NCAA On Demand is including the “boss button,” which brings up a fake spreadsheet to make it appear that employees are busy working.

Many businesses and schools are also concerned that the widespread viewing of the streaming video will slow or crash their computer networks. This is especially worrisome because for the first time this year all 63 tournament games will be available online, without online blackouts of games showing on local CBS TV stations.

CBSSports.com and NCAA.com, including NCAA On Demand, are included in the Wavecrest site-blocking list under Sports, and for those using Cyfin, access to these sites will be monitored under Sports. If you want to only block and/or monitor the live video, you can use one of Wavecrest’s custom categories to block and/or monitor www.ncaasports.com/mmod/player.