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Yellow card for employers who don’t plan for Euro Football Championship 2012 |Web Security

Posted by Geraldine Hunt on Tue, Jun 12th, 2012

Watching the 2012 UEFA Euro tournament at work via a live feed or unfiltering streaming site presents real web security challenges for empoyers. Employers need to consider their strategy for managing  employee access to live soccer feeds during the tournament. Managers who fail to plan could be opening  up their network to security risks as well as looking at a reduction in productivity through lack of action. 

The Euros undoubtedly create a distraction in the workplace and the trickle-down effect can be expensive over time. New research from  Robert Half Technology reports conflict between HR and IT over approaches to take in managing access to sporting events like the Euro 2012  tournament

  • 44% of European HR directors believe Olympic and/or Euro 2012 activities in the workplace will have a positive impact on their employees’ morale and motivation
  •  57% of European IT executives stated that they will not allow employees to view the Olympics and/or Euro 2012 coverage from their computers at work IT executives their main reasons for restricting access to coverage are productivity, security and network capacity.

There are several valid reasons why IT managers would choose to restrict or carefully manage employee access to live feeds around the Euros

Protect against malware, viruses, and network security risks.

Accessing live feed sites employees can unintentionally download malware and viruses opening up the network to serious security risks. As well as the cost involved in having a technician remove the malware, viruses and network security risks there is also the risk of data loss including financial records, customer lists and passwords.

Having computer issues can also reduce employee productivity. For some businesses, this is the number one IT expense and can cost several thousands of dollars in IT time and  lost data every year.

Live feeds increase bandwidth usage.

Watching the Euros online uses company bandwidth, this increased  bandwidth utilization has the potential to  slow down the company's internet impacting significantly on productivity.

To control  IT costs and prevent risks, there are many web filtering  tools available for businesses of all sizes and types. These allow the employer to decide if a streaming site can be accessed and when this access is allowed so that in advance the site can be cleared as safe. In conjunction with HR a flexible internet access policy should be agreed with the web filtering tool ensuring the company internet usage policy is adhered to.

Here are some of the major features to look for in a company web content filter:

  • Ability to block access to websites based on domain, URL pattern, or content category
  • Block downloads based on file type
  • Block applications that access the Internet, including IM, music services, and games
  • Protection from malicious sites that contain viruses and malware
  • Ability to create separate policies for different department or groups
  • Restricting personal browsing to non-working hours according to how these are defined
  • Comprehensive reporting

A web filtering solution provides vital network protection

A web filtering solution can help provide any business vital protection against productivity loss, data loss and unexpected bandwidth demands and cost increases. Many web filters include tools that allow for flexible filtering so that a company can give employees access to certain sites during a set timeframe.

Employees may try and keep track of games via the internet, but if large numbers are doing so this could have implications for an organisation’s IT systems. Its important for company to decide whether they are happy for employees to use your IT systems in this way albeit it in a managed way or whether you will take a zero-tolerance approach? Regardless of the approach taken a clearly communicated internet usage policy is essential so that employees are left in no doubt as to the consequences of breaching such a policy.

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