Employers cracking down on non-work related web surfing

Employers are tightening control over which websites their staff can view, and are increasingly deciding to block access to popular social networking sites, according to research by Internet security firm ScanSafe.

Employers are tightening control over which websites their staff can view, and are increasingly deciding to block access to popular social networking sites, according to research by Internet security firm ScanSafe.

An analysis of more than a billion Web requests processed by the company each month confirms a 20 per cent increase in the number of customers blocking social networking sites in the last six months. Currently, 76 per cent of companies are choosing to block social networking and it is now a more popular category to block than online shopping (52 per cent), weapons (75 per cent), alcohol (64 per cent), sports (51 per cent), and Webmail (58 per cent).

Employers do not take the same stern approach to online banking, however, and only 47 per cent of ScanSafe customers scanned block this category.

“When Web filtering first became an option for companies we generally saw them block access to typical categories such as pornography, illegal activities, and hate and discrimination,” says ScanSafe director of product management Spencer Parker. “Employers are wising-up to the dangers and negative impact on productivity linked to certain sites, and more and more of our customers have chosen to block social networking, online banking, and Webmail.”

Categories in which ScanSafe specifically found an increase in the number of customers choosing to block included:

  • 28 per cent increase in travel sites.
  • 27 per cent increase in restaurant and bar sites.
  • 26 per cent increase in sport sites.
  • 26 per cent increase in online shopping sites.
  • 19 per cent increase in Job Searches.
  • 16 per cent increase in Webmail access.

“In economic times like these, having a productive workforce is more important than ever and companies are now often expecting employees to work harder for less,” Parker adds.  “Restricting access to non-work related sites could be a way to encourage this much needed productivity. Social networking sites… can be a drain on productivity and bandwidth…

Parker believes that social networking will soon “be up there with pornography in terms of categories blocked.”

Related stories:
Employers using social networks to check recruitees
Social networking sites cost UK plc £6.5bn in lost productivity
Half of employees blocked from accessing Facebook at work

More information:
www.scansafe.com

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