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.

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.

Since the holidays are about good cheer, don’t be a grinch this year!

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

CyBer Monday

The holiday shopping season is fast approaching once again. Every year, more and more people use online shopping for the majority of their purchases. Is your business ready for the online shopping that your employees will likely do during business hours? Is your bandwidth ready to make sure your mission-critical applications take priority?

Cyber Monday will come up faster than you think, but that is only one day of online shopping. Cyber Monday 2014 ranked as the heaviest online buying day that year with $2.038 billion in desktop spending, but the day after Cyber Monday wasn’t far behind, ranking second for the season at $1.796 billion. It doesn’t even stop there! On the second Monday in December (Green Monday), online buying was $1.615 billion! These are all regular business days! And each year the amount of time and money spent online shopping increases! The whole season is about shopping for those important to us, and employees are going to try to get online to grab the best deals no matter what day, or time of day, it is.

Since the holidays are about good cheer, don’t be a grinch this year. Find ways to satisfy all your business and employee needs. Give your employees the gift of online shopping time during this holiday season, while making sure your IT team receives the gift of proactively throttling bandwidth for noncritical applications when needed.

Wavecrest Computing has been the recognized leader in Web Security for over 19 years with CyBlock and Cyfin Solutions. These scalable filtering and forensic reporting analysis products are designed to enable organizations to successfully address Internet abuse, legal liability, shadow IT, workforce productivity, and Web security threats. FREE bandwidth audit available!

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.

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

 

More Cyber Monday Shopping Expected This Year

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Cyber Monday is just around the corner, and this year, almost 84 percent of online retailers are planning Cyber Monday promotions.  Cyber Monday takes place the first Monday after Thanksgiving (December 1), i.e., the first day employees are back to work.  Last year, Americans made hundreds of online purchases and spent $733 million on Cyber Monday.

This year will not be any different, and in fact, more shoppers will probably be looking for online deals on Cyber Monday.  A survey conducted by BIGresearch found that 70 percent of young adults 18-34 with Internet access will shop at work.

Cyber Monday shopping and holiday shopping are huge productivity wasters for businesses.  Wavecrest’s products can help you block online shopping at work.  You can monitor and/or filter Web use with your Cyfin or CyBlock product by category, e.g., shopping, entertainment, sports, etc.  Wavecrest’s CyBlock products also allow you to block Web access by hour so that you can allow employees to access shopping sites on their lunch break or after hours.