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Employee Computer Monitoring
Workplace Cyber Surveillance on the Rise

Cyber slackers, MySpace junkies, and chat gossips beware. Monitoring employee computers has become standard practice in the workplace.

And for good reason. Companies that don't monitor online activity put their organizations at risk. Inappropriate web surfing, offensive emails and worse can lead to costly lawsuits ranging from hostile work environments to sexual harassment cases - not to mention losses resulting from trade secret theft.

Did you know:

27% of businesses monitor employees' computers?
Employers have found one of the best ways to protect themselves against misuse of company networks is to monitor employee computer use. This means that many companies are starting to hire CIOs whose sole mission is to monitor employee email, chats and Internet use.

Not all Chief Information Officers are entirely comfortable with monitoring employee electronic communications, especially if a worker is also a friend, but it's become a necessity in today's digital world.

Search CIO reports that workplace computer monitoring has become standard practice. More than three-fourths of businesses monitor employees' computers. That's a 27% increase since 2001. And 65% of organizations use Internet filter software to block websites.

Companies vary as to how strict they are when it comes to blocking the Internet. Some employers use content filtering to block adult sites, gambling and violent materials. Other companies block Internet use completely and believe that employees should never use the Internet at work.

The degree of Internet filtering often depends on one's job duties. Employees doing research need full access to the web, but front-line employees may not need online access on the job.

In an ideal world, employees would show common sense when given access to the Internet at work. But the reality of on-the-job Internet use is less than perfect. One CIO found that 5% of employees visited sites that were completely inappropriate, and 20% looked at sites that were questionable.

The bottom line is, the best insurance against cyber mishaps is to explicitly communicate a clear company policy on computer usage backed up by computer surveillance software.

A word of caution to employers: use Internet filtering that's suitable for the employees in question. According to Manny Avramidid, Senior Vice President for Global Resources at American Management Association, Internet surfing for highly skilled or hard-to-find employees is a perk. So while monitoring employee computer use is standard practice, over zealous employee Internet blocking may not always be in a company's best interest if keeping employees happy is a priority.

WebWatcher employee monitoring software solves this problem because it gives employers the power to use website filtering as much or as little as they choose. Even if Internet blocking isn't activated, all computer activity is recorded. Screenshots are taken when questionable activities occur all the recorded data is organized so that companies don't have to spend a lot of time searching through harmless employee files.

Monitoring employee computers doesn't have to be complex, and easy-to-use monitoring software like WebWatcher is an excellent way for companies to protect themselves.

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