What employees do during work hours often has very little to do with the actual work they should be doing. It’s not something they always have complete control over — the internet has brought about so many joyful distractions that are almost impossible to resist at times. While a bit of fun can be beneficial to the overall employee performance, it’s more often a complete productivity killer.
Since every place of work has internet access nowadays, distractions are impossible to avoid. It’s up to you, the employer, to decide what you’re going to do about it. Ignoring the issue is certainly not an option. Network traffic monitoring, on the other hand, could be the solution you’re after. Find out all you need to know about internet monitoring software and how to use it appropriately.
- 1 What Is Network Monitoring?
- 2 Why Should You Monitor Network Traffic?
- 3 What Kind of Valuable Information Can You Derive from Network Monitoring?
- 4 Be Transparent About Your Monitoring Activities
- 5 Enforce Internet Use Policies
- 6 Monitor Traffic to Your Advantage
A network traffic monitor is a piece of software that tracks employees’ activities online. It reveals how much time they’re spending on work-related matters and how much time they’re wasting.
You deploy a network monitoring client on your employees’ computers which then collects internet usage data and uploads it to the server.
The employer or the managers can then receive internet usage reports that highlight how the employees are spending their time during work hours.
The most obvious reason is the major loss of productivity. If your employees are ordering items from Amazon all day, they’re likely to get very little work done. The same goes for mindlessly browsing Facebook and Twitter feeds while the workload only keeps getting bigger.
These are just some of the most glaring issues with giving your employees full access to the internet. However, there are thousands of other websites that people like to visit for one reason or the other, and giving your employees full access to them is just not going to cut it.
However, lost productivity is not the only problem, far from it. The bandwidth you’re paying for is meant to be used up by job-related tasks and operations. If only one or two of your employees are downloading video games or streaming TV shows, the bandwidth will get clogged up real fast.
Last but not least, there’s the issue of privacy. It’s up to you to protect sensitive company data, and that’s not really possible when employees are visiting suspicious websites and potentially downloading dangerous malware.
All of the above can be prevented with a simple software solution in place.
There’s a wealth of information to be gathered by using software for network traffic monitoring. You can learn how the employees were spending their time, who was hogging up all the bandwidth, and which sites or site categories were most prominently visited.
You can see who the top internet users in your company are. It’s up to you to choose how the data will be presented to you. For example, you might be more interested in each individual’s time expenditure, or you could group employee activity by department.
Get information about which domains strained your bandwidth the most. Bandwidth activity monitoring is crucial for revealing issues with network performance. Sometimes, employees misusing the network are the cause of high bandwidth, but you might also just need to upgrade the network.
Which sites your employees visit matters not just in the context of time wasted, but also as potentially risky behavior. Sites with inappropriate content are often laden with malware, which can pose a serious security risk for the company.
As we’ve pointed out, employees tend to visit a wide variety of websites during work hours. Some of them you’re probably familiar with, but most are going to be a complete mystery. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out what it is your employees are looking at, let network monitoring software assign a category to each URL people visit.
It’s obvious that you can derive a lot of invaluable information about your employees’ online activities, thus preventing potential data leaks and other problems.
However, employees often take issue with being monitored. While it is your absolute and undeniable right to know how employees are spending hours you’re paying them for, you shouldn’t take it too far.
The most important thing is to be completely transparent about your monitoring activities. Employees finding out about monitoring only when you plan on punishing them is going to cause serious moral issues in the company.
Also, you shouldn’t track everything they do. Keeping an eye out on only the riskiest website categories will suffice. Don’t delve too deep into their personal interests.
It goes without saying that you should take every step to protect the private data you’re collecting. If you’re not serious about keeping your employees’ sensitive data safe, how can you expect the same from them?
Internet use policies are an excellent way to set some expectations about your employees’ online behavior and responsibilities. Everyone in the office will know what’s fine and what’s not, and how much time they’re allowed on social media or similar websites.
However, without an internet monitoring tool, you have absolutely no way of knowing if the internet use policy is being followed to the letter.
By using network traffic monitoring software, you’ll actually be able to enforce internet use policies. They won’t just be abstract rules that nobody follows, rather actual and tangible company laws that employees abide by.
It’s time to start monitoring the company network. There’s too much at stake for you to simply ignore the inherent risks of being constantly online and connected.
However, it’s important to monitor network traffic wisely. Let your employees know that you’re watching, but only for signs of internet use policy breaches. When everyone’s on the same page and the expectations are clear, the entire company will benefit.