Should Companies Restrict Web Access? (2019)

Employee on a desktop computer browsing the Internet in an office.

There’s no doubt about it, the Internet has become a necessary tool in the workplace. Giving employees unlimited access to the Web, however, is debatable.

Having employees spend a significant amount of their time on Facebook, online shopping and live chat programs is bound to negatively affect productivity in the workplace. Aside from non-productive behavior online, employee Internet usage can also put a strain on bandwidth consumption, not to mention the potential for increased risks of malware attacks on the network.

Research by IDC shows that up to 40% of employee Internet activity is non-work related, costing employees thousands of dollars in lost employee productivity and increased exposure to outside attacks of the corporate network.

So how do employers address the reality of employees accessing non-work related websites?

The truth is that restricting Internet access can create a repressive work environment, damaging employee confidence and morale. Instead, a more flexible approach should be considered.

Block Websites by Category

A popular solution to this dilemma is to allow Internet access but block inappropriate or non-productive sites. But finding each of the different websites that employees are accessing can be a daunting task. New websites are popping up every day, and the number of websites that should be blocked in the workplace could be impossible to gauge. In this case, BrowseControl offers URL Category Filtering to provide an efficient and straightforward means of instantly blocking unauthorized sites. Consisting of over 150 URL categories such as Sports and Social Media which cover millions of domains, employers can easily block thousands of non-productive websites by blocking individual categories.

Use Category Filtering to block Facebook with BrowseControl web filter

With the Social Networks category blocked, employees can not access websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Create a Custom Allowed List

Another solution for employers in this dilemma would be to block the Internet altogether and only permit access to work-related websites. This solution can be configured easily through the BrowseControl console, and allows for employers to create custom Allowed Lists for their employees to access.

BrowseControl console with the Internet turned off and a custom allowed list of company websites is configured.

Turn the Internet off completely and only permit access to company websites to increase employee productivity.

Allow Internet During Breaks

For workplaces with stricter Web access policies, employers can choose to allow employees to access the Web during specific times of the day such as lunch or work breaks. With this configuration in place, employees can have something to look forward to for their breaks and employers can be sure that the Internet is only being used during designated times.

BrowseControl Internet scheduler with the Internet turned on during lunch hour.

Configure an Internet scheduler to allow employees to access the Internet during breaks.

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