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Monitoring Employee Internet, Email and Chat Use

Keeping an eye on an employee???s desktop is a touchy subject, and who hasn???t enjoyed a read of their favorite Network Computing blog in the middle of the workday?
For organizations seeking to control their employee???s access to the Net, products like Websense and Zihtec can restrict end users??? ability to surf the net. Zihtec???s Internet Control for Business provides customizable internet content filtering and can also allow you to set policies for hours when chatting or internet shopping sites can be visited - or choose to block them all together.

It also has the ability to restrict content that can be sent over the Internet and limit foul language. Websense allows IT policy managers to choose between Allow, Block, Continue, Quota, Block by Bandwidth, or Block by File Type options for managing web access and even filter sites based on time of day.

The policies you implement should be implemented with specific goals and with thoughts to consequences, not just limiting activity capriciously. Overly restrictive policy may have negative consequences. A survey done by University of Maryland states that employees with Web access at both the office and at home spend an average of 3.7 hours per week engaged in personal online activities while on the job. However, they spend more time - an average of 5.9 hours per week - using the Internet at home for work-related purposes.

At least in this survey, allowing internet access actually results in more time spent working, which illustrates how complex implanting an Internet control policy can be. It???s a reminder that a real person sits behind every desktop.