The Right Way to Curb Personal Web Surfing at Work

Concerned about Employee Web Browsing?
Suggestions for Doing it the Right Way with Web Filtering

Security with web filtering and Unified Threat ManagementThe studies seem to agree on this one. The No. 1 cause of worker unproductivity is Web surfing. But rather than deal with it, many employers rely on the professionalism of their employees.

But if your company does play Internet traffic cop, be aware there is a right way and a wrong way to get people back to concentrate on their work. In a new working paper called Temptation at Work, the Harvard Business School points to one common practice as an example of the wrong way to do it - banning surfing the Web until after work hours. Why?

Workers who are asked to use willpower to resist temptation are more likely to be less productive and make more mistakes in assigned tasks. Companies would be better off either turning off Web browsing completely, or allowing specific times of the day for personal surfing.

The team writes: “Employers should not prohibit the Internet and yet leave it available. Instead, employers should either remove it entirely or, when doing this is impractical, allow employees a certain amount of time — maybe even as often as several minutes per hour — for personal Internet activity."

Fortunately controls do not have to be implemented in an "On" or "Off" way. Most modern solutions such a Web Filtering appliances or Services allow for granular control such as blocking broad categories like gaming or social media or even individual websites. This makes it possible to let employees continue to do their work on the Web when required by their job description.

Affordable solutions for small businesses are available and easily implemented. Web filtering should be part of a comprehensive Unified Threat Management Plan.

Please e-mail or call (877) 717-6075 Ext 21 with further questions web filtering and unified threat management or to schedule your review of your employees' browsing and what to do about it.

Protect against Spam and Web-Based Threats

Keep Spam and Internet Threats Off Your Network
Simple and Affordable Threat Protection for Small Business

Antispam, antivirus, antispyware, antiphishing: Effectively stops email threats, reducing the security risks associated with e-mail
URL web filtering: Controls users’ access to the web
Web reputation: Determines the risk of accessing websites
● Web Content filtering: Based on company rules, refines control of e-mail and web usage

Internet threats come in many forms. Many enter your network through email. However, a growing number of threats come from websites that host malicious software. Productivity is diminished as employees spend time sifting through spam or browsing through non-work-related websites. Internet bandwidth and email server space are wasted on unnecessary file transfer and storage.

Contact Johannes Banck,CIO of Computer Systems Support & Design for steps to protect your network, data and employees for malicious attempts by cyber criminals.

 

Comprehensive Cost-effective E-mail and Web Filtering Service

Our Cisco devices deliver cost-effective email and web filtering for your business. Powered by Trend Micro, the Gateway UTM service is a hosted service that runs on select Cisco Small Business security appliances and routers. It integrates powerful antispam and antiphishing email filtering, URL content filtering and web reputation monitoring to block standalone and blended-threat attacks and enforce customer-specific use policies. These features prevent unwanted content from passing into your network and protect you against websites that are infected with spyware. 

Simplified Management of Web Usage with smart Web Filtering

The Cisco Gateway allows you to create and enforce the web usage policies best suited for your business. Websites are categorized, enabling you to block or restrict access to offensive or non-work-related sites. This feature helps you not only improve employee productivity but also reduce web-based threats and conserve bandwidth. Continuous updates help ensure that the protection is always up to date and accurate.

Email spam blocker

  • In-the-cloud protection to block spam email before it reaches your network, servers, and computers
  • Three-step protection: sender reputation, threat scanning, and content filtering
  • Virus blocker functionality to stop viruses and other threats
  • Antiphishing functionality to prevent outside attempts to mine the private data of your business and employees

Website / URL content filtering

  • Selection of more than 80 categories of unproductive or inappropriate website types to block (for example, adult, gambling, social networking)
  • Useful for enforcing your company's Internet usage policy
  • Helps increase employee productivity by stopping bandwidth waste

Web threat protection

  • Helps protect your employees and business by blocking access to known malicious websites
  • Lets you monitor acceptable websites that may have become infected with spyware

Figure 1. How the Cisco Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliance/service protects your business and employees from Internet threats, malware and malicious e-mail threats

 Unified Threat Management UTM Web Filtering Gateway

Is Employee Web Browsing A Problem?

Our FREE Security Review Helps You Prepare with Unified Threat Management (UTM)
Learn how to eliminate the risk with our low-cost security measures

     The Internet is the attack vector of choice for malware developers and data thieves of all stripes because of the protocols used constitutes a big, gaping hole in a company’s defenses.  While some users bring grief on themselves by browsing inappropriate and risky pages; criminals target legitimate sites to distribute the malware through corrupted banner ads; web redirects, and other nefarious techniques.  Should your employees fend for themselves or should you provide a guiding hand in their activities on the web?

    You can’t close the hole in your defenses all-together because end users rely on the web for business research.  What you can do, however, is implement border enforcement to cover your assets.  These on-premise software and appliances provide slate of capabilities, including web filters to block users from surfing inappropriate or compromised sites. Malware filters to pluck viruses, Trojans, and spyware from inbound content, and data loss prevention tools to stop sensitive information from leaking out of your organization. 

Learn how to eliminate the risk with our low-cost security measures?

For more information, call our office at (877) 717-6075 Ext 211

Online Criminals Target Your Users With Malicious Email!

How to protect yourself in a few simple steps from malicious email threats.


Email Phishing ScamsCurrently, only about 3% of the malware Computer Systems Support & Design encounters exploits a technical flaw. The other 97% are trying to trick your end-users through some scheme into clicking on a link, opening a file, or downloading some content. Today’s online cyber criminals are far more likely to target user behavior.  It is considerably easier to find a person who is willing to click on a malicious email link, than to exploit a highly complex operating system.

"There is predominant belief among small businesses that they are too small to be of any value to cyber criminals, and most SMBs are confident that they are adequately protected by default settings in their IT equipment." says Johannes Banck, CIO of Computer Systems Support. He continues "this is further from the truth. Because small business have less defenses and less employee training in place, they are in fact a preferred target."

Entrepreneur Magazine has a very interesting article called "How to Protect Your Small Business Against a Cyber Attack" describing the problems a number of Seatle small businesses encountered. Take-away? It could happen to you. We help business protect themselves from cyber crooks with methodical security measures. Call today!

Big Money, Big Question

Cyber crooks in China reported to have made millions from writing and distributing Trojans designed to steal passwords for online gaming accounts. Criminals said to have made tens of millions from small and medium-sized businesses in the US through malicious programs distributed via spam designed to steal online banking credentials. A spamming operation that generated monthly sales of between around $400,000 and $750,000 because one in every 30,000 of its malicious advertising emails resulted in a sale. Do you remember the Nigeria scam of the widow of the deposed dictator? Surprise, it is still around because it is still working after all these years.

As these examples demonstrate, there's big money to be made in cyber-crime. Stolen bank logins, for instance, may only command prices below $10 per record (though high-value data will come at a considerably higher price), but with hundreds of thousands of lists constantly changing hands, fortunes can still be made with minimal effort. You may say "We are just a small company and have no valuable data". Think again and see our article "Security by Obscurity is no Security" at this link. Information security has to remain high priority.

What's more, your personal cost generally exceeds the black market value of the stolen information many times over. It's estimated that anyone losing data with a 'retail' value of $10 will actually incur around over $200 in costs, taking into account not just financial losses but also inconvenience and time spent dealing with the incident and putting straight the resulting mess.


So the big question for your business is - are you content to withstand the financial hits that email threats inevitably deliver? Or would it actually save you money if you could implement information and email security that blocks virtually every threat at internet level before it even approaches your corporate gateway, with minimal demand on your in-house IT Tech Support resources? Please see this article about how to Protect against Spam and Web-Based Threats.

The risk of becoming a victim of cyber-crime is very real. So too are the costs. But making the right call where email security is concerned will mean your business can stop paying them.

What can you do to Protect your Company Assets from Cyber Criminals?

  • The first line of defense is user education.  Advise your users to treat any inbound email inquiry with a healthy degree of skepticism.  This includes not only emails and links to unknown websites, but also phone calls coming into your organization.
  • The second line of defense is to have up–to-date Antivirus, Anti-Malware and Anti-spam programs installed not only on your user’s workstations, but also on the servers AND firewall.
  • The third line of defense calls for security appliances at the edge of your network that filter all incoming packets for any malware that might piggyback on packets destined for your users, in effect preventing malware and email threats from ever entering your network.

To find peace-of-mind and not become an unwitting cyber crime victim contact us for our Network Security Assessment pointing out “holes” in your defenses and suggesting inexpensive fixes. There is no charge for this service.

Don’t delay, call us now.

Top 10 list of websites that businesses block

The World’s Most Blocked Websites
Protecting Employee Productivity and Computer Network Resources 

OpenDNS released it’s Top 10 list of websites that businesses block. The most obvious reason for most of the sites on the list is to minimize distractions and keep workers productive. No surprise here as Facebook was the most blocked site by businesses with almost one in four (23 percent) trying to put the clamps on social networking sites. Here’s the full list:

web filtering services - Tech Support1. Facebook
2. MySpace
3. YouTube
4. DoubleClick
5. Twitter
6. Hotmail
7. Orkut
8. ad.yieldmanager
9. Meebo
10. eBay

Learn more about employee browsing and how to reduce it, please call (877) 717-6075 Ext. 211 for a free consultation… we can help setting up the right web filtering policies and reduce downtime.

About us

We serve businesses in Fairfield County, Connecticut with IT Tech Support, network planning (network consulting), network projects, and ongoing network/computer maintenance and Tech Support. We pride ourselves on not only delivering the results you expect, but also being knowledgeable, systematic, accountable, trustworthy and easy to work with. Read more...

Fairfield County Connecticut

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Tel:         (203) 541-5448 Ext. 211
Toll-free: (877) 717-6075
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Email: jb at cssdllc.com