IT Support - Employee internet usage

Employee Internet usage: How to introduce a policy into your business

The recent explosive growth of social networking sites such as Facebook means there’s a much greater chance of employees surfing the web during work hours. However the Internet is a useful business tool so for many businesses it’s important for employees to have access.

So how do you go about monitoring or restricting employee internet usage?

The implementation of an acceptable usage policy combined with restricting access to certain sites is often more than enough for most small businesses and is good practice.

If the monitoring is more specific such as the investigation of an employee rather than just regular Internet monitoring then software can be installed on that specific computer to monitor exactly what that employee is doing and when.

Employees must be informed if they are going to be monitored and to what extent before any monitoring can take place. This is where already having an acceptable usage policy in place stating that they will be monitored etc. is an advantage

There are exceptions to this rule such as:
• Prevention or detection of crime.

• Apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

• Collection or assessment of any tax or duty.

So how do you go about it?
High level monitoring and restriction of employee internet use can easily be achieved by a free service such as This service allows you to restrict access to certain sites. It also enables general reporting on web usage however it won’t provide detailed reporting such as who is looking at what.

Some firewalls allow web content filtering so it could be that the functionality is already in place and just needs to be implemented.

At the more expensive end there is software that can be implemented locally that will monitor and restrict internet usage and provide reporting down to individual user level.

Useful links:
Inappropriate use of Internet access - case study

An excellent guide from Business Link

Sample Internet policies and notices from Business Link

Staff use of social media is an unseen threat, says security firm

BITS can advise you on the most cost effective options for your business.

Disclaimer: The above article is provided for information only. Whilst BITS can advise you on the technical aspects we advise you to contact a legal or human resources practitioner for further advice if necessary.

You can easily contact us by email, via our enquiry form or simply call us on 01373 888 333. Posted by Lee Edge on 13/10/2009

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