Statistics show that 50% of employees use work hours for personal internet browsing. If you must email your bank or your child’s school, schedule an appointment with a doctor or have a household breakage repaired, these issues often can’t wait until after 5pm or the weekend. Business hours are business hours for a reason. They are the hours when we all do business. True, you can pay your bills on your own time, but as anyone disputing a billing issue will tell you – there are certain hours in which the appropriate people are available. Being connected to an after-hours call centre will leave you more frustrated than when you started, and no closer to a solution. This creates a certain amount of inevitable personal internet browsing at work.
IT administrators responding to a panicked post on Reddit.com, reassure a user who is concerned about his company tracking his internet behaviour by saying, “They don't have someone sitting there monitoring internet usage. Nobody has time for that and everyone has something better to do than look at traffic stats.” and “I work in IT, and the way I see it, it's not my job to make people do their jobs.” An IT Manager with 30 years of experience advises the concerned user, “The only time we pull logs, and actually search for things about you are when you are on the verge of termination.” As you can see, IT administrators simply don’t have the time to closely monitor internet behaviour.
A recent study conducted by vouchercloud.com polled 1,989 UK office workers who estimated that they spent an average of just 3 hours per day on productive activities, with social media browsing (47%) and news websites (45%) being the biggest distractions. (Making tea came in at 31% for the UK employees.) Here in Asia, China’s 996 work schedule, while in theory designed to make companies more competitive, has a Beijing-based anonymous IT engineer noting that his “…most productive working hours are from 4pm to 8pm when I can totally focus on coding.” A South China Morning Post article, for which they interviewed several software engineers and programmers, found that most were simply unable to focus for 12 straight hours. With these basic attention-span restrictions and the temptation of social media and internet content, it is undoubtedly prudent to give these engineers a bit of help, and easy distracted employees a bit of motivation.
Monitoring of internet activity has shown many typical success stories and flaws. Flawed approaches include the banning of internet entirely, banning certain websites (i.e. Facebook) and closely monitoring internet activity with a fine tooth comb. It goes without saying that internet is necessary for business, and while banning Facebook might eliminate that temptation, employees searching for entertainment have too many other options and might even need social media sites for work-related tasks. Finally, monitoring internet behaviour closely might work in a closed work environment but for enterprises with branches, remote workers, contractors and different office locations – it’s simply not feasible.
Manny Avramidis, President & CEO of the American Management Association says, "There are primary reasons why employers monitor employee Internet behaviour at work, depending on the organization and its employees. Employee productivity is key. Some companies will say that trade secret issues are important, not necessarily because employees intentionally share company information, but employees may not realize the importance to competitors of such items as new product features and organization charts.”
Sangfor IAM: A Different Approach
- Providing customized and graphical reports based on traffic statistics, queries, ranking, time and user/group behaviour makes overall monitoring of internet usage quick, easy and simple to understand.
- Intelligent traffic management allocates bandwidth to different customized groups or users. Those without an express need for more bandwidth can be limited with a click, allocating that bandwidth to users with more need.
- URL filtering and application control functions are vital for the accurate and convenient management of business critical and personal apps, making it possible to control access, upload, download and other network actions. Sangfor also has one of the largest application signature databases in Asia.
- Minimizes regulatory risks and protects intranet data security by preventing leakage of core information and making it easy to track any leaks quickly.
- Integrated with Sangfor Neural-X & Engine Zero for enhanced security protection against advanced threats.
Listed on the Gartner Magic Quadrant for 8 consecutive years, Sangfor’s Internet Access Management (IAM) solution is a tried and tested method of securing enterprise networking and boosting productivity, taking internet and application control beyond the basic functions of an SWG.
Founded in 2000 and a publicly traded company as of 2018 (SANGFOR STOCK CODE: 300454 (CH)), Sangfor Technologies is an APAC-based, global leading vendor of IT infrastructure solutions specializing in Network Security and Cloud Computing. Visit us at www.sangfor.com to learn more about your internet security options, benefits and functions, and make your IT simpler, more secure and more valuable.