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Businesses large and small struggle to balance effective internet use by employees with unwanted personal use. A recent report by a Silicon Valley network security company portrays the scene at most large organizations as a free-for-all, with employees doing whatever necessary to use the applications they want and organizations knowing next to nothing about the file sharing applications running rampant on their networks. With increased risk accompanying the increased productivity technology brings, businesses should adopt a network usage policy and take a few key steps to make sure it's effective.
The technology website Ars Tecnica reported that firewall maker Palo Alto Networks recently issued its Spring 2009 Risk and Usage Report. For business owners, it paints a scary portrait. Amongst the conclusions reached:
So, what can a small business do? Establish and enforce a network usage policy.
Generally, an employer can monitor employees' use of work computers or the business' network. Monitoring of phone calls and voicemail in many states requires that the employer notify the employee of such monitoring, and stop the moment they realize a call or message is personal. Use of the company's computer network, however, is less protected. Here are some quick tips on establishing and implementing a network usage policy: