Energis, the only telecoms company focused exclusively on the biggest organisations in the UK and Ireland, has warned that British business is at risk from workers’ online addictions. Responding to a recent report claiming that downloading porn represents 50 percent of all IT abuse in the public sector, the company warned that the issue is not restricted to the public sector or pornography.
It points to a plethora of IT abuses such as music downloading, online gambling, shopping and dating that distract employees and threatens productivity and warns that with the increasing popularity of peer to peer networking, this problem could spiral out of control.
David McLinton, security expert at Energis, stated: “Despite the fact that we work longer hours than our European counterparts, British productivity is at risk through the distractions of IT abuse. There is no way that bosses would allow office workers to spend hours at a bookies or buying the latest music and films and yet this activity is happening everyday in offices across the country. Not only does it impact on productivity and suck up bandwidth, slowing down business critical systems, but employers are liable for files stored on their servers. The employer can also be held responsible for workers suffering distress from exposure to any offensive images.”
Energis says that the reactive, piecemeal way in which solutions are deployed is partly responsible for the increase in these IT violations. McLinton prescribes a holistic approach to tackling the problem: “Organisations tend to address security concerns as they arise rather than making a full assessment of the risks and taking the necessary steps. Those that are serious about combating this issue need to adopt a holistic approach that uses filtering tools to prevent access to inappropriate content. Email protection systems and also deep-packet inspection technology should sit alongside this in order to provide comprehensive levels of security.”