Playing Big Brother?
Bright Hub: How to keep uncontrolled browsing by employees in check without seeming like a "Big Brother" policy is the policy?
David Kelleher: Banning Internet access is not the right approach. Apart from sending negative signals to employees (lack of trust, etc.) it is also restricting the use of the Internet as a tool to conduct business.
However, giving uncontrolled access to the Internet can be dangerous. Apart from giving a carte blanche to employees to browse the Internet, an organization is opening itself up to numerous web-borne threats.
Administrators have to find a balance and this can be done by installing web-filtering software. Such software gives the administrator perfect control over which websites can or cannot be accessed by employees. The software can also be configured to open access only at certain times or only certain departments have access rights. The software can also be used to specify which sites are allowed or blocked.
Web filtering software gives the organization control over Internet usage without impinging on its employees' Internet browsing requirements. There will be a few employees who do not like the idea that their boss is monitoring or restricting their Internet activity, and some may consider it to be a breach of privacy.
To avoid any claims of discrimination or breach of privacy, the company must make it clear in its security and Internet usage policy that allowing employees to browse is the prerogative of the organization; and they must be aware that management has the right to monitor Internet browsing activity to protect it against vicarious liability (the company faces the music even if an employee's browsing activity caused a security breach or data loss). Informing all employees in writing that their browsing activity may be monitored when they join the company ensures there is no room for misinterpretation or ignorance of company policy.