Productivity in a Time of Endless Distractions

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

time online image

Employees have access to all kinds of digital distractions every minute of the day. So, businesses have to make a decision what is acceptable for Internet use when employees are on the clock. This decision can be hard. There are many who think of privacy issues, not wanting to deter human interaction, or who even have a “my managers watch over their employees so I leave it to them” thought. The only real problem is . . . it’s your business that will suffer if Internet-usage privileges are abused on a regular basis. Bandwidth slowdowns and productivity loss, not to mention increased malware risk, can have a substantial impact on your business. No matter which decision you make for your business, you still need to know what is happening to keep your company, your data, and your employees secure and productive.

You need visibility. If you keep up with our Wavecrest posts, we tend to emphasize this point a lot. Why? Because it is a crucial business tool for today’s digital workplace! You have to know what is happening in your business and on your network so you can make informed business decisions. In this particular case, you need visibility into employees’ time spent online.

Wavecrest Computing’s Time Online feature provides the time that a user spends on the Internet in a useful and informative format with easy-to-interpret charts. Find out which users spend the most time online, spot spikes, and analyze usage for productivity issues or potential bandwidth hogs. Each business is unique and your Internet-use policy should fit your specific business needs. Find the visibility necessary to keep productivity high and mission-critical operations running smoothly, with Cyfin and CyBlock solutions from Wavecrest Computing.

About Wavecrest Computing

Celebrating 20 years in business, 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.

Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday Approach: Watch Your Employees

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Door-busters, Black Friday, Cyber Monday: According to Visa, 140 million people plan to shop over Thanksgiving weekend this year – a significant decrease from the 247 million who did so in 2012. Nonetheless, 37% of Americans said they will shop on Black Friday, while 34% plan to shop on Cyber Monday. And that means security risk for companies, whose employees will undoubtedly be shopping online during work hours.

To view the full article click here.

Controlling Spyware with Cyfin and CyBlock

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008

Introduction
Spyware – software that tracks Web surfers’ activity without their knowledge and sends the information back to a third party – is a growing concern for IT administrators. Spyware can compromise security, consume bandwidth and slow networks to a crawl. The good news is you can help protect your network from spyware with Cyfin and CyBlock software.

Spyware Problems
Spyware can get into your computer(s) very easily, and it can be extremely hard to detect. Most employees never realize their computers are infected, and those that do have no idea how it happened.

Because spyware enters a user’s system with “legitimate” traffic through an open Internet port, firewalls are not an adequate defense. Spyware remains undetected by firewalls designed to block suspicious inbound traffic rather than monitor the heavy outbound activity spyware generates. (Inbound spyware doesn’t look suspicious.)

Wavecrest Solutions
Your Cyfin web monitoring software or CyBlock web filtering software can help identify spyware and reduce your risk of downloading it in the future.

1) Use reporting tools to spot spyware activity with Cyfin or CyBlock.

A. Look for unusual patterns of Web activity. Run a Site Analysis report at least once a week and be alert to changes in the volume and pattern of outbound Web activity. For example, if a single user is suddenly logging thousands of visits a day, chances are it’s a spyware issue. That’s because “human” activity is usually more random than spyware activity. Here’s another clue. If you notice that every morning at 3 a.m. a user appears to be accessing the same Web site repeatedly, most likely the activity is being automatically triggered by a spyware program.

B. Watch the IP Address category. High activity in this reporting category should raise a red flag for administrators. Most spyware programs send information back to an IP address, while actual user activity is almost always driven by a domain name. Wavecrest software will categorize all IP Address activity automatically. High traffic volume here warrants further investigation.

C. Identify the source of the problem. Dig deeper by running a Category Audit Detail report to uncover both the spyware site and the affected user. If your Category Audit Detail report shows an unusual number of hits to a specific Web site, that site is most likely the source.

2) Use CyBlock’s filtering tools to control surfing.

A. Create a strict “allow” list. One way to prevent spyware is to strictly control employee Internet access. With CyBlock, you can limit online access to only the Web sites you know to be trustworthy and automatically block access to any Web site not on your “allow” list.

B. Block access to social networks high-risk sites. Another less restrictive way to minimize exposure to spyware is to block user access to high-risk site categories. These include spyware/malicious, hacking, phishing/fraud, music downloads, download sites, social networks, games, chat and pornography.

3) Update your Web-use management tools.

A. Update your Acceptable Use Policy. Employees need to understand the risks of Web surfing. Minimize risks of Internet abuse by implementing a policy to curtail at-work surfing and communicate it clearly to employees.

B. Update your Wavecrest list. The Wavecrest control list is updated daily, adding Web sites known to host spyware. We recommend downloading your Wavecrest control list daily to minimize the number of visits categorized as “Other” and ensure the best coverage possible. You can set Cyfin and CyBlock to do this automatically on the Administration – URL List – Schedule screen.

(Note: If you spot a Web site you suspect may be spyware, email it to us at sites@wavecrest.net. Our OtherWise research team will review the site and categorize it appropriately.)

C. Update your operating system. Download updates to your operating system on a regular basis. Spyware multiplies on your network by exploiting weaknesses in OS software. Frequent updates will help plug these holes and minimize the damage if you become infected.

4) Work with your employees.

Counsel employees about the dangers of spyware. Brief your employees on the dangers and detrimental effects of malicious software, and tell them about the actions you’re taking as well as the actions they should take and the sites they should avoid.