Companies like Websense sell their web filtering software to corporate clients. Their marketing material is pointing out how much productivity is lost due to employees casually surfing the web while at work. With Websense software corporations are able to restrict web surfing to certain websites and put monitoring in place. This allows to protect the corporations from malicious viruses entering the network from untrusted websites and to limit the overall Internet activity of employees to business related websites. It also allows to run specific reporting on every user and to monitor web usage on a per user base.
But how much web monitoring and filtering is really helping a corporation and when is filtering getting too tight? Everyone agrees - an employee is paid a certain amount of money in return for his or her work. An employee should not be paid for surfing the web. Websense can also be useful protecting the network environment from Trojans and viruses.
But a tool like Websense does not really make a difference between the employee taking a quick break after a very hectic morning and between the lazy employee surfing the web 5 hours a day. Everyone is monitored and all activity is logged. The danger with a tool like Websense is: who is running the reports and how are these reports used. The 5 hour a day employee web surfer does need to be fired - no doubt. But does the occasionally web surfing employee gets into trouble when surfing the web on a slow day with not enough work to fill the hours? There might be the sudden 1.5 hours of web surfing going on. Or how about the IT admin doing research on the Internet?! He might spend hours on the Internet researching problems. That can be part of his job. If the person looking at the reports does not look behind the report and just judges the user based on the time spend on the web or how much bandwidth he/she has used, wrong accusations can be made. Websense is also not foolproof and if a session to website is open it counts the web usage - even if the user only minimized the browser window to continue working. This can be misleading.
There is much more to Websense than just filtering and logging and monitoring. To successfully use Websense a corporation also needs to spend the time to do research on the results. Just by judging a user based on the reports is not enough.
About the Author
Mr. Christoph Puetz is a successful entrepreneur and international book author. Websites of Christoph Puetz can be found at Breast Pumps and at Highlands Ranch Colorado .
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