With the latest firewalls and security products, keeping companies systems secure continues to advance.  With the right network equipment, it’s much easier to block “questionable” web content or to keep the “bad guys” out.  However, a trend that I have noticed most recently is that some clients are looking to these technology tools to keep their employees on task and out of sites they do not deem productive.  Sure, with technology, we can easily create a rule on your firewall to block specific websites, such as Facebook, so that when your employees attempt to go that site, they cannot.

However, while the concept is good, it just doesn’t work.  Yes, I said that – it does not work.  Unfortunately the problem isn’t Facebook.  It’s your policy (or a lack of policy).  Let me explain.  Facebook, in its rawest form, is a time killer which translates into “I’d rather waste time, than do the work before me.”  Before Facebook there was Instant Messaging.  Before the internet there was solitaire.  Before computers there was hanging out at the water cooler, personal phone calls, or whatever other means to pass time – and kill productivity.

The point is that a well written (and enforced) Internet Usage Policy goes much further than just blocking websites.  If you choose the path of solely blocking sites, you will most likely always chase this issue.  If you block a site like Facebook, your employees do not necessarily become more productive.  They just find other time killing websites to spend their time on.  If you block their entire web access, they will in all likelihood return to playing solitaire.

My suggestion:  write a good usage policy and enforce it.  An effective way to enforce your policy is to review monthly usage reports from your firewall.  You most likely already know which employees will show up on those reports well before you even read them.  Address the issue from a management perspective rather than through technology.  Instead, use the technology piece to validate what you already know and use it as a metric for measuring against your policy.

Do you need help developing your Internet Usage Policy or just not sure where to start?  Let us help.  IT360 has helped many businesses develop a plan and policy, with great success.  Contact us if you would like to find out how.

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