Kid In A Proverbial Candy Store
Published by: David Neel
When you were a kid, did your parents allow you to run into the candy store eat all that you want for as long as you want, no exceptions no limits no worries? I think not…
But this is the exact rules that most small companies have when they allow their company to connect to the Internet. While there are a plethora of good items to choose from we are sometimes tempted to linger too long on the stuff we like and over indulge in those things that may not be a good for us. We may even find that we now enjoy our time the candy store more rewarding than anything else we could be doing, what could every be better than this.
So how do we as business owners restrain ourselves and our employees from spending a lot of time on the Internet in a nonproductive manner? We have all heard the stories of the person that was taken away by the feds for having kid porn, or the employee at the big company that got fired for watching porn on his company computer. You may believe they are rare and extreme events, but it happens every day. And what about your employees who take just a moment to get caught up on the last 4 episodes of “LOST” while they are waiting for a customer to call back, or the quick game of online poker while they are on hold. Or maybe the little peak at the latest Victoria Secrets latest collection: for the wife (right). So if an employee wastes 20 minutes a day: and that would be low trust me. That is two weeks’ vacation in the office a year. So how do we limit this, it is called content filtering. And while the big companies have had it for years, schools have to implement it by the rules of the Department of Education: however it is left up to the School Boards to determine how. The small businesses have either not had the dollars or the knowledge to implement it.
Let me share a small secret with you, it can much easier than you think and the best part it is FREE: First a nontechnical overview of how the Internet works: When we type in the name of a webpage www.cybertek-eng.com (ie the URL) your computer asks itself if it know it’s IP address, 99.99% it does not. So it refers to its DNS (domain name service: kind of like the phone book, but up to date) the DNS may or may not know the answer to your request, if it does not know the answer it will refer to a bigger/smarter DNS that should have the answer (this is called Recursive Querying). This answer is send back to your PC and then the website (ie..URL) you entered is displayed.
I have implemented this solution countless times for small businesses and homes for the parent who wants to either keep their kids off the inappropriate sites, or to make sure that an incorrect spelling on a search engine does not produce naked people on the screen. -Did you know that more Internet bandwidth is allocated to pornography between the hours of 3pm-6pm than any other segment of the day?
The product I would like to suggest that every small business owner looks at is a company called OpenDNS (www.opendns.com) this is a free service, and in my opinion is a jewel. The question I get from customers is how can it be free? Here is how they do it, when you type in a webpage or are being redirected to a website your computer sends its request to OpenDNS, is that URL is on your blocked category list; it will take you to a safe landing page and on that page they will show advertisers. In the same manner, as Google shows advertisers on the far right side of the screen.
What you will need to start: You will need an email address (this is used once to send you your confirmation email – one time). You don’t need any additional hardware, and there are no service agreements to sign, no commitment agreements, and no sales calls. And best of all you are in-charge of your own content rules. I would guess it may take you 30 minutes to set it up
If you want to look into it but are not sure yet, click on over to www.opendns.com and click on the Learn More.
There are several items I would like to suggest to you think about in a small business:
- Establish an Employee Internet Usage disclaimer: this is hopefully a document that you and the HR people have included your employee hiring process. What are you going to do if there is a massive amount of abuse? How many times are you going to have to warm them for downloading too much polka-music.
- Content filtering: start with the items that you never want on your network: Pornography, Nudity and always include Proxy/Anonymizer blocks. And check the logs a regular basis to see where they are trying to go.