How to avoid Five Blind Spots in Internet Filtering

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1 How to avoid Five Blind Spots in Internet Filtering If you re like most managers today, you d like to know what your employees are up to on company time, especially when they re using company PCs and laptops. You need to protect your organization from problems like these: > productivity losses from personal Web-surfing > theft of company secrets and intellectual property > unauthorized use of company laptops off-network > theft of company leads and customer lists > poaching of key employees by competitors. To help prevent these problems and the costly lawsuits associated with them many businesses are adopting some form of employee monitoring and Internet filtering. This is not being done secretly; more than 85% of the firms surveyed recently by the American Management Association do announce these measures to employees as a deterrent. What do these measures consist of? In all, 55% of companies surveyed store and review messages, while two-thirds use software to block inappropriate web sites. But storing and blocking undesirable web sites are only the first steps towards effective monitoring of the PCs and laptops your employees Even if your already monitoring and filtering Internet access, there are five remaining blind spots where employees can do things you can't see. This white paper describes these five blind spots, why each one is important, and what you can do to gain better visibility into each of them.

2 Doing the basics is not enough The most basic level of PC monitoring is Web site monitoring and blocking, as shown in Figure 1. This ensures that employees don t waste hours of company time playing games, watching videos, and other inappropriate surfing. But monitoring and Web site blocking are not enough to safeguard your firm. That s because there are five remaining blind spots where you cannot see what your employees are up to: > not monitoring Web mail > not seeing into instant messages > not capturing typed activities > not capturing screen-based activities > not monitoring off network activities Without some way to see into these uses of your company PCs, you are missing a huge part of the picture and your firm remains at risk. Let s examine each of these blind spots in turn. : American Management Association/ePolicy Institute Research, 2005 Electronic Monitoring & Surveillance Survey, May 2005

3 Your Five Blind Spots 1. Not monitoring Web mail As you know, not every has to pass through Outlook or a corporate server. Web-based services like AOL, Hotmail, and Yahoo! provide a fast, easy, and free way for employees to send and receive , completely undetected by most monitoring software. Any file on your network text, graphics, database, or PDF can be attached to a Web-based sent from inside your premises, and then quickly retrieved from any other PC in the world with Web access. This makes Web mail an ideal way to steal company secrets and intellectual property, such as product designs, confidential plans, customer lists, sales leads, even software code. 2. Not seeing into instant messages Instant messaging (IM) is another hidden channel any employee can use to communicate with an outsider. An IM is delivered almost immediately, leaving no trace of its passing. Services like AOL IM, ICQ, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo! Messenger provide a quick and easy way for employees to send and receive text messages. And use of IM is growing quickly. The Radicati Group predicts that by 2010, the total number of IMs sent every day will rise to 66.4 billion... and any one of these could spell a serious loss for your firm. IM provides an ideal channel for forwarding critical bits of inside information to an outside accomplice. It s simple to paste snippets like user names, passwords, account numbers, sales leads, bids, or launch dates into an IM.

4 Your Five Blind Spots 3. Not capturing typed activities Even if you could find a way to see every Web mail and IM sent by every employee, there are other areas of concern. What about an employee logging into an application or confidential server with a stolen username and password? What could look like a routine access to reports by an authorized individual could in fact be a fishing expedition by an industrial spy. What about an employee using their PC to prepare a secret note that they simply print out and delete? Since this document was never saved, your network file system has no record that it ever existed. Of course, no one wants to look over every employee s shoulder all day long. But if you could selectively monitor every keystroke typed by every employee and they knew it you could greatly reduce your exposure from this third blind spot. 4. Not capturing screen-based activities Seeing the text of all activities and communications taking place on your company PCs is still not the whole picture. You also need to see the graphics on the screen. But traditional filtering software can t capture graphics, so any photos, graphs, drawings, or other images are effectively invisible to your monitoring. Your inability to monitor employees as they access highly sensitive applications such as HR files, customer lists, or financial data leaves you vulnerable to a fourth blind spot. Any employee who accesses a company database or any other application for unauthorized purposes may leave no trace but the images quickly fading from their screens.

5 Your Five Blind Spots 5. Not monitoring off-network activities The fifth blind spot is in many ways the worst: the lack of visibility into off-network use of laptops. This is a growing problem, especially since some researchers predict there will more laptops than desktops in business by Your firm may well support a number of mobile professionals, sales people, technicians, telecommuters, and other employees who routinely use company laptops. Each of those machines likely carries numerous company secrets and priceless intellectual property. But the instant an employee leaves your premises with a laptop, you have no idea what they re doing with it. From any Starbucks or Internet café, they can send any document on that laptop to anyone else. Even with no Internet connection, they can download their entire hard disk to another device. The next morning, they can return to work with no one the wiser

6 What an ideal solution would look like What precisely would an ideal solution for employee monitoring look like? Let s review each blind spot to see what a truly effective solution would provide to overcome it. 1. Monitoring Web Mail: This feature would capture the time, date, subject, sender, receiver, and contents of any inbound or outbound Web mail, no matter what system was used to create it. It would provide a quick, deep search to help find any special terms, people, or dates of interest in any volume of recorded Web mail. And ideally it would provide access to the same attachments that were sent or received with any Web mail. 2. Monitoring Instant Messages: This feature would capture any inbound and outbound chat and IM sessions in their entirety, along with their dates and times. Ideally it would provide a way to quickly find any particular terms, people, or subjects of interest in a mass of recorded IMs. 3. Capturing Typed Activities: This feature would log every keystroke typed on any target PC, and format the results into an easy-to-read log. This log would be sorted by application, time, and date, making it easy to reconstruct whatever an employee was doing. Beyond this, the keystroke logging would ideally overcome even military-grade encryption schemes by capturing keystrokes as soon the keys are pressed, before any encryption takes place.

7 What an ideal solution would look like 4. Capturing Screen-Based Activities: As a minimum, this feature would take screen shots of any or all employees monitors at a flexible range of pre-set intervals. Beyond this, an ideal solution would provide the smarts to take a screenshot triggered by any chosen keyword, such as the code name for a secret project. This would enable you to zero in on questionable activities, without wading through hundreds of hours of innocent images. Ideally, these screen shots would be relayed in near real-time, so you could interrupt any unauthorized activities before they were completed. 5. Monitoring Off-Network Activities All the features described above would continue to work even when a laptop was off your corporate network, connected at an Internet café to a completely different or dynamic IP address, or disconnected from the net altogether. And as soon as that laptop was reconnected to the net anywhere in the world, all the recently recorded Web mail, IMs, keystrokes, and screen shots would be securely transmitted back to your headquarters. In all these ways, an ideal solution would give you a complete picture of your operations, with every blind spot surrounding any PC or laptop in your firm uncovered and ready for your inspection.

8 The benefits of an ideal solution But does the ideal solution actually exist? The good news is yes, such a complete solution exists, and it has already been field-proven in millions of installations. This solution is called SONAR from Awareness Technologies, and it provides all the features you ll need and more. What does your firm stand to gain by adopting this solution? By alerting your employees that this technology is being implemented and developing the appropriate HR policies to back it up you will quickly stem any productivity losses. By doing selective monitoring, you ll gain more insight into your employees and their concerns, even the ability to defuse certain HR issues before they become critical. You ll gain better protection against theft of company secrets, intellectual property, and customer leads from the inside, where many problems originate. And if any such loss does occur, you will have an undeniable trail of evidence showing who the guilty parties are and exactly what they did, when, and how. You will have stronger measures to prevent mobile employees from using laptops in inappropriate ways, even against the company s best interests. And you will have better intelligence to avoid poaching of key employees by competitors. Best of all, you will no longer be running your organization blind. Your holistic view of your operation will help you make better business decisions. And in an era of increasing abuses of technology, you will know you ve done everything you can to protect your organization.

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