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Should Companies Allow Employees to Use Company Computers for Internet Shopping?

Although shopping spree through the Internet is popular in the festive season but the method has many security implications. According to 'St. Bernard Software' report, this risk is high in companies because company staff uses their organizations' computers to shop while at work. Of course, the security consultant of the IT section of the company is aware about this risk and employ protective measures for the organization. But why organizations allow such 'non-business Internet activity' remains a prominent question.
According to the report's estimate from the latest security survey carried out by St. Bernard, of 298 companies, 76% do not prevent their employees to access online shopping sites during office hours.

'St. Bernard Software' added in their report that 'security tools' were readily available and if organizations implement them, it would cover many times more than the cost. The 'upgraded tools' are designed based on the techniques that malware writers commonly use. They segregate areas of application where a potential attack could be hiding and come to conclusions about the effects of the attack on the basis of the hacker's hidden information.

On combining issues of security with that of productivity, the subject of controlling Internet access for 'non-work related purposes' could have adverse impact on employees' performance. The chances of ID theft, phishing attacks, spam, malware and so on rise dramatically with shopping via company 'computer resources'.

Though the Internet provides sufficient information to online shoppers, these same people are not aware of security risks. It is easy to lure them to any site that offers anything free. Such sites are usually hosts of many types of security problem.

Organizations and employees should, therefore, adopt 'reactive measures' in the form of anti-spam, anti-virus, firewall etc. They are necessary to prevent any leakage from both out of the company database or entry of malware through the Internet. Even a legitimate Internet traffic could be harmful. So it is not just enough to have tools that lock Internet surfing but to have 'reactive tools' as well. The idea of 'defense in depth' makes this imperative.

Related article: Sault Area Hospital Cautions about Job Scam E-mails

» SPAMfighter News - 01-12-2006

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