Have you implemented an internet usage monitor policy at your company? Have you ever considered why an internet usage monitor is critical in today's connected global environment?
The obvious threats to uncontrolled internet usage include
the cost of corruption and business interruptions caused by malware (viruses, spyware, ransom ware etc.);
the cost of additional bandwidth, and
the huge adverse effect on productivity.
These are the obvious needs for internet usage monitors. A not so obvious threat to not having an internet usage monitor is the risk of compromised corporate governance and allied lack of compliance, both legal and corporate. Conditions which lead to lack of compliance can result in one of your employees accessing someone's private account and conducting fraudulent transactions. Fraudulent transactions can include downloading and using copywrited materials (music, video and other digital content), conducting unauthorised financial transactions etc.
I don't need to explain why this is illegal but have you considered the possible implications to your business if a lack of compliance resulted in illegal activity that can be traced back to an employee of your business? The press article title would probably read, "Man working at (Insert your business name) arrested for cybercrime" or "(Insert your business name) fingered as the source of cybercriminal activity".
Do you know what internet activity is taking place on your corporate network? Could your company be exposed to this type of risk? If you don't have an effective internet usage monitor, then your business continuity is at risk. It could cause disastrous repercussions that could result in your business being shut down - all because software and internet usage is not monitored.
If you think that the risk is minimal and not worth the effort required to implement an internet usage monitor, think again. Authorities are becoming more active in monitoring suspicious internet activity. If Safact's (The Southern African Federation against Copyright) internet monitoring unit becomes suspicious, it searches torrent and related sites - usually the first places where pirated content will be posted. Have a look at Torrent Freak for an example of what I believe will become commonplace actions!
So how do I safeguard my business against illegal internet usage?
Implement internet usage monitors for the abovementioned productivity cost cutting and compliance. This mitigates the risk of breaking laws and, on top of this, keeps a log of what is being used on your company machines. Cloud based office security solutions are becoming pervasive in this regard. Cloud security solutions are easy to deploy, cost effective and easy to manage. Cloud based security solutions that you should consider usually include all of these components:
Internet usage monitor reporting (to highlight prohibited and unproductive usage)
Web filtering capabilities (to block access to unauthorised website categories)
Device control (ensuring that corporate data cannot be copied off the corporate network).
Of course, putting technology based internet usage monitoring tools in place does not mean that you shouldn't continue using complementary regular precautionary measures including:
Ensuring that all potential new employees are thoroughly screened.
Ensuring that your standard employment contract includes legally enforceable clauses that prohibit illegal and potentially harmful internet activity (and includes consequential actions!)