Enterprise Web Filtering – The Controversies Surrounding Them
The basis of a successful business (whether big or small) is built on the trust that lies between employees and their management. But, increasingly, there is a bone of discontent that is coming in between these two entities: enterprise web filtering.
Most employees are honest and hard working – otherwise we wouldn’t have so many companies all over making money hand over fist. They do not need to have Big Brother looking over their shoulders to ensure their productivity. If the company thinks that there is a need for such controlling measures, they think that the focus should be put on those that do not adhere to the companies’ policies and them alone.
Some employees that have had to deal with enterprise web filtering have even taken it a step further by implying that the whole concept of enterprise net filtering software is actually a breach of their privacy.
There are even those that admit to surfing sites that they say are not related to their work. But, they also insist that it does more good than harm – they do it when they need a break and that they return to work refreshed and relaxed thus being more productive.
Bien sûr, they also admit that they should be trusted enough to use their internet privileges with responsibility, just as they would be trusted with any other of their companies’ equipment.
Although we do not usually have companies that are more slave drivers than fair employers, there are some of them that assume they can do whatever they want to with their employees.
Their main argument is that from the moment the employee walks in their doors he or she is on the company’s time. They are therefore expected to spend each minute behind those closed doors making sure that they contribute to the year-end profit report.
They also like to point out the fact that the computers and other hardware that the employees use are also the company’s property. This therefore, they say, entitles them to do whatever they want to with them – including installing enterprise net filtering software.
After all, they do not want to have their employees spending time surfing the internet and wasting their time shopping online or downloading and listening to music all day. They also do not want to have their network security put at risk by employees’ recklessness.
And in their defense, there is no way that they can isolate a group of employees and focus on just those that go astray. It is not feasible and there is a high chance that it can lead to a lawsuit.
But what does the enterprise web filtering software do? Why are they the cause for so much mistrust and suspicion?
The basic job of any enterprise net filtering software is to ensure that the employees do not visit sites that they are not allowed to. These sites could be chosen because they are porn sites, virus and malware sites, game and gambling sites, sites of competing businesses or simply sites that have nothing to do with the direct business interest of the company.
But what makes it worrisome to the employees is the information that is collected about them. A couple of main points:
- An erroneous click on a porn link, par exemple, would register in the report that would be seen by the administrators and/or management. It would show that the employee clicked on the link and not by mistake – just that he or she did so.
- The browsing information could be seen by people that are not authorized to see them. Although the management might have the right to see which sites have been visited they might be privy to some personal data that, if leaked or hacked into, could harm the employee in question.
As we have seen, the issue of using enterprise web filtering is a very touchy subject. It looks like it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, at least.
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