How To Limit Internet Access – Employees spending a significant amount of time on Facebook is bound to negatively affect their productivity at the workplace and the company’s time. It can also put a strain on bandwidth consumption, not to mention a potential risk of malware threat on the company’s network. Complications like these and many others, that are brought about by the employees, can impact the company’s time and money that they are investing to keep it running.
Should employees be allowed internet for personal use?
This does not have a clear-cut answer, since there are a number of concerns like privacy and security that come into the context of being associated with personal internet usage. An employee’s personal email at work is more vulnerable than corporate email systems and they have sensitive information that is captured by employee internet management software. But at the same time, a zero-tolerance policy towards personal web browsing will impact negative morale and lead to an employee being frustrated. Hence, a business will need to consider both scenarios to allow for network security and employee satisfaction productivity.
- This refers to when employees use the internet for their personal use, that is not related to the job, i.e. playing games or browsing social media platforms, etc. If cyberloafing is affecting productivity, it doesn’t mean that employees should not be allowed to use the internet at all. Rather concerns leading to cyberloafing should be addressed like are challenged enough, do they have longer working hours, do they receive an incentive to work harder, are they satisfied with their employment, are they being paid low wages, etc.Exploring these questions might answer why they are spending so much time on the internet for their personal use.
- Bandwidth Hogging. Businesses need reliable and smooth internet to thrive but if employees’ web surfing is congesting their internet connection then they need to look into concerns regarding bandwidth hogging. Common bandwidth hogs can include movie streaming, video sharing, or live streaming websites, however, an employee could also be using any of these websites for business-related reasons. Businesses need to make sure that their network connection remains fully operational to be used for the intended purpose. There needs to be a balance between allowing personal use without it affecting network efficiency, for instance, allowing internet for personal use during their designated break times.
- Employees using the internet for personal use can lead to cybersecurity nightmares with security threats such as phishing emails, malware, etc. Those threats can compromise a company’s network. For instance, social networking sites are particularly dangerous, since letting users upload and share content increases the risk of accidental or malicious data leakage. The kind of websites an employee would visit for work purposesare pre-vetted and secure, and unfamiliar websites could pose a security risk.
Businesses need to create a balance between employees’ personal use of the internet and the security risks to companies’ networks. If employees’ personal use is restricted or their go-to websites are blocked, they would find other ways to bypass the company’s network and that is just opening doors for high-risk threats to get into the company’s network.
How to limit internet access at your business
Following measures can be practiced to limit internet access for employees:
- Businesses can introduce a written restricted internet use policy for employees. In that written policy, it can be specified about only certain employees being able to use the internet, approved reasons for using the internet, list of approved websites, when the internet can be used, and for how long, etc. This written policy can be forwarded to employees through email, company meetings, or written postings.
- Disable internet access for employees that do not need it. Many businesses have a wireless internet connection which is inexpensive and easy for computers to connect to. However, if some employees do not need to be on the computer or use the internet connection, it is better to not connect their computers.
- Computers that use the internet connection should be password protected so that only employees that are authorized to use the internet connection can have access to it.
- Companies should install a program into their employees’ computers that can control internet usage. For instance, INet Protector can allow blocking websites to limit web surfing, and also restrict access to the internet with a password. Internet access can also be confined to specified times and usage is limited as well.
- Routers can be used to block websites since they offer internet control settings.
- Businesses can introduce disciplinary action for those who do not adhere to the internet usage policy, however, they should make sure that they are within reasonable limits.
To sum it up, employees do have a right to personal use of the internet at work, but employers need to make sure that allowing personal internet usage doesn’t interfere with employees’ productivity and network security. They can limit their internet usage to specified hours and times of the day or they can restrict internet access for those who do not even require it. Companies also need to make sure that their network bandwidth is appropriate for employees’ work-related internet usage. For instance, Xfinity internet deals have packages that allow higher bandwidth for large-scale companies and lower network congestion for companies to carry out their internet-related work smoothly.