December 11, 2007 21:29 ET

'Tis the Season to Review Internet Policies

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - December 11, 2007) - Employee misuse of Internet resources during the holiday season may be costing employers dearly, according to WebSpy (ASX: WSY), a global software developer specializing in identifying and reporting on workplace Internet, email and network activity. But despite the temptation to completely censor non-work related Internet access, many companies are realizing that allowing employees limited but controlled personal access to the Internet leads to a more productive and harmonious work environment.

With the seasonal diversions and enticements by online shopping sites to raise their market share it is becoming harder for staff to resist the temptation. The attraction of that special once in a lifetime bargain is part of our natural spontaneous buying behavior. In the USA, recent reports claimed that over $488 million was lost on the Monday after Thanksgiving due to online shopping. The day has become known as "Cyber Monday." The reality is that these statistics are hard to quantify and generally are based on the time an employee is "surfing" multiplied by an average hourly rate and then extrapolated across the whole Internet workforce. Numerous other factors come to play, including the threat of introducing viruses and malware into your organization. Each company really needs to assess their own environment and determine the level of risk and cost.

Beyond shopping, Christmas is a great time to catch up with family and friends and organize social events for the upcoming "silly season." Do employers really know how much time is taken up here? With addiction to social networks such as Facebook now reaching epidemic proportions it is very common for staff to spend two or three hours a day profiling themselves and networking with friends although for some, social networking may be justifiable and some companies actually encourage their employees to network this way. It therefore becomes very difficult to distinguish between what is work related and what is not.

In a tight labor market and in recognition of the needs of today's online savvy employees, more and more companies are now looking for balance with limited and controlled social and personal access. There is usually no problem with an employee doing their banking, booking a holiday or theater ticket as long as it is done responsibly and as long as the company has the protection it needs to conduct its business operation. In order to put in place a more balanced arrangement, employers need to establish Acceptable Usage Policies and monitoring practices and share those with staff so there are no surprises. CIOs and IT & Security Managers then need to mine their log data to identify exactly what is going on in their organization. From there, they can then share this knowledge with CEOs and HR Managers to obtain their buy in and help shape staff behavior as it applies to them.

WebSpy's Reporting and Analysis software de-mystifies increasingly complex and diverse collections of log file data by turning them into actionable management information. Easy installation and use coupled with automation means that your line managers, HR managers and other people responsible for maintaining productivity and harmonious work environments can deploy and use the software. The most obvious benefits to the new balanced work environment are increased productivity and a positive portrayal of your company to the outside world. Through the encouragement of self-regulated responsible usage your people are generally more satisfied and happier and tend to deal with customers more positively.

The WebSpy products support over 150 vendor solutions and as a Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV), WebSpy also offers Microsoft's Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA) as a unified solution for protecting organizations from Internet threats and reporting on user activity. For further details refer to:

Full versions of the WebSpy products are available to download and trial, free for 30 days, at:

About WebSpy Ltd

WebSpy has been established for 11 years with over 6000 active customers and offices strategically located in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. An extensive network of appointed Resellers and Distributors are supported by teams based in those regions. WebSpy provides Internet management tools that enable organisations to make informed decisions to help mitigate risk and maximise productivity. With an ever increasing threat to organisations from internal Internet misuse, WebSpy helps to limit and control recreational use of the Internet at work as well as provide Network Monitoring for valuable insight into the health of systems.

WebSpy has representation on Microsoft's Worldwide ISV Partner Advisory Council (PAC).

Contact Information

  • For all other information please visit our website at or
    Lagis Zavros
    WebSpy Head Office
    +61 8 9321 3322