Web Monitoring can Boost Productivity
Socializing has been a part of business as long as businesses have been around. Before there was a computer at every workstation people would socialize over the phone or around the water cooler. Electronic devices and the internet have made it easier for people to socialize (or anti-socialize) during company time with a certain degree of anonymity. The bigger the organization, the lower the chances of getting caught. Firms need web monitoring.
Firm management may want to monitor this type of activity as it can eat into the productivity of the business. With smartphones, computers, remote access and other unsupervised ways of accessing information on the Internet, lost productivity is a growing concern. Firms can monitor web based activity with software to identify those who spend too much time on the Internet. Social media is a big draw for end users and being away from it for hours at a time might be just too much for some users. So they sneak time from work to ensure they are keeping up with their social outlets. This costs the firm in terms of productivity.
What gets monitored?
Web monitoring software allows employers to monitor every user and device connected to their network. End users are not interrupted during Internet activity. Web monitoring software can determine how much time is being spent browsing social media, instant messaging, playing games, downloading and viewing inappropriate content. These items can lead to serious legal risks and harassment issues for impacted employers. Employers can monitor content being viewed, downloaded, saved and shared by using software products that provide web filtering, keystroke logging, real time reports on web usage, email monitoring and live screen shots of the desktop. Using web monitoring technology, employers can identify employees who are using more of the firm’s internet services than expected.
Legal Ramifications of Web monitoring
There is some controversy around the practice of employee monitoring regarding the legal right to privacy. There is also the issue of who is monitoring, what they are monitoring and for what purpose.
Monitoring of employees does not come without regulations and laws. Canada has laws regarding monitoring and privacy in regard to electronic devices owned by employers and the private information that employee’s store on them.
In 2012 the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in Jones v. Tsige, 2012 ONCA 32 that in Ontario the tort of invasion of personal privacy by electronic monitoring now exists. The Court has identified the basis for this new cause of action to be an “intrusion upon seclusion”. Employees can sue their employers for reading personal information on their electronic devices without their consent even though the devices are corporately owned!
The potential cost and liability for the employer with regard to harassment suits that arise as a result of inappropriate content being exposed to employees counters that thought. This may prompt businesses to take a more active role in monitoring their employees. Employers are strongly encouraged to set strict usage policies regarding the use of the firm’s technology and to educate all employees on acceptable use through and acceptable use policy circulated and signed by all employees annually.
Security and Productivity Implications
Web monitoring is more than just spying on users. It is also keeping the integrity of data, proprietary information, business strategies and keeping client information safe from outside exposure. Web monitoring software helps to keep malware from impacting the network through employees downloading files from Torrent based browsers or visiting unsafe sites.
Implementing web monitoring software is standard business practice in large companies but it is time for small and medium sized firms to adopt this trend.
Triella offers comprehensive monitoring software which can:
- Monitor web browsing activity on a per user or per computer basis.
- Generate comprehensive tabular/graphical reports.
- Specify the time range when the Internet activity should be collected, so that you view only relevant information.
- Provide bandwidth monitoring
- Provide automated email reports
- Allow remote screen capturing
- Is compatible with all major browsers
And much more! The software cannot be removed or circumvented by the end user of the system. Using anonymous browsers will not prevent the information from being collected. Performance on the monitored computer is not affected. Sessions in Citrix, Remote Desktop Services and other services can be monitored with equal ease.
If your firm has issues with ransomware or virus infections or if you notice people quickly hiding their phones or changing the screens on their computers when you walk by, you are a candidate for web monitoring and for a computer use policy. Take action before it becomes a legal issue for the firm.
Just as everyone needs the internet to conduct a productive business, today’s employer needs web monitoring to ensure productivity and security within their network and their electronic business environment.
Tammy Malone is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Tammy can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/whats-new/. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Webroot Reseller.
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