Online At Work? Why not?
Internet usage in the workplace and security issues.
If your company is not utilizing the vast resources of the "World Wide Web", they are probably losing profits to their competitors.
The two main reasons that companies are hesitant to increase their profits by having Internet access in the workplace areSecurity risk to their computers and company data.
The Internet being used by employees for non-work related task.
These issues are the concern of many companies. Has anyone found cost effective solutions to these problems? Well yes they have, and they are as many as the mind can conceive. We have decided to talk about the ones that are free and simple to implement. The security risks to company computers and data can be completely eliminated, and there are many suggestions to help stop the misuse of this valuable tool in the work place. Security risk to company data problem solved.
First of all, never allow hook up to the Internet to your company's network (Intranet). Giving user's access to the World Wide Web (WWW), via your company's internal network, should be left to those high tech companies. By high tech companies, we are in reference to the ones who have Management of Information System (MIS) departments, that are so large, they could be considered as a separate company. Examples are Microsoft, AT&T, McDonnell Douglas, AMX, Fed Ex, and other companies with "x" in them. Just joking, but you should at least test your MIS department first to see how knowledgeable they are. Verify that they can answer the following questions correctly.
1. What is a cookie?
2. Can we get a computer virus in an E-mail, when there is no file attachment?
3. How would you design a fire wall?
If their answers to these questions are:
1. "I'll show you at lunch."
3. "I would use bricks."
Then it might be best for you to follow these suggestions. The first, and most simple solution to the issue of security is to have a separate computer for the sole purpose of accessing the vast resources available on the Internet. It is strongly recommended that this computer not be connected to any other computer in the company. When not in use, the policy would be to have its phone line disconnected. Although if you do not have it specifically set up to receive calls, it can't be accessed unless you are online. Disconnecting from the phone line might help those members of management with less computer savvy feel safer. You do not need to go out and spend thousands for this stand alone computer either. You could buy an old Pentium with a high speed modem for about $ 500.
Another option is to utilize one of the company's lap top computers. Most companies have at least one. You should already have policies in place to protect the company Intranet from viruses. For example "do not use a floppy disk in a network terminal without first scanning for a virus." Educate employees who will be accessing the Internet, about safe Internet practices. For example, do not download a file when you don't know who it is from. I have noticed that most of the MIS department at the industries I have worked with, like to keep their users in the dark. Perhaps they think "a little knowledge is dangerous" or fear they may no longer be the "king pin". One thing is for sure, no knowledge is more dangerous than having just a little knowledge. So encourage computer education among employees.
How can we assure that the Internet is used for work related activities only? The first thing to do is to set policies, this is what keeps employees in the yellow lines. My favorite is; three strikes and your out, or in this case, lose your Internet privileges. Secondly you need to block out access to non-work related sites, or at least monitor employee usage. The easiest way to block usage of particular category of sites, is to use an "online service provider" like AOL. You can use the password protected parental control features to do this, and the user-friendly service is only $ 20 a month for unlimited usage. That is one of the many advantages to using a service like this as opposed to your local Internet Service Provider (ISP). Another advantage not to take lightly, is the free WEB space that comes with the account, which you can use to put the company on the Web. The support is unlimited, making it so easy. Anyone in your company could do the WEB page designs.
If you do go with the local ISP for Internet access, it will cost the same, and some give you WEB space to advertise your company. You will probably want to find a book, or go to a site for beginners like the search engines have. Yahoo's is pretty good. With just an ISP, you will need some software to block and monitor your user's WEB activity. Cyber Snoop for Win95 comes highly recommended, and has a free demo version. Or you could just look in the Cache sub-directory of the directory where your Internet browser is located, but this would be tedious, and there are ways for a savvy employees to get around that. How can my company benefit from the WEB? This is the same as asking how can my company benefit by having a hundred people work every problem, to come up with a solution?
The Internet can help you talk with industry experts around the world. Productivity can be boosted while costs are slashed by offering world-wide access to your products and services. Internet technology can bring global connectivity within the plant Engineering process. This technology does away with constraints of geography and corporate networks, reducing process variability; reducing maintenance costs; improving plant reliability; making production more flexible and responsive; reducing installation costs; increasing compatibility with existing equipment; improving ease of use.
The information on the WEB is constantly growing, and most downtime can be shortened or avoided all together, if information is available. Maintenance will give it there best shot, then an outside service tech is called in. That's after you play phone tag, and finally get in touch with them. Then they have to work you in to the schedule. Two days later, the tech gets there, and reloads a program, and you are up and running. When that night, your maintenance supervisor could have accessed the OEM's trouble shooting data base, seen that the program needed reloaded, and been up and running in an hour.
I have seen Engineers, service Technicians, and old timers debugging a plant automation system for two weeks. Finally they have their service tech who is most familiar with the system, flown into the country to work on it. After 5 minutes, he changes one bit, and it's up and running. If they had used networking of their people, the scenario would have gone a lot different. They could have e-mailed the program to the service tech, to take a look at. He would have made his recommendation, and they would have been up and running in a few hours.
Business Industrial Network is just one of many sites, utilizing the Internet to reduce downtime in industry. We maintain a database of problem and solutions on all types of machines and industrial equipment. You can access information 24 hours a day. This site provides links to OEMs so you can check their WEB sites for the information and contacts you need. If all that does not help, we show you how to search for the information, or will even help you find it. Our sites do not just help you with getting back up and running, but helps keep you from going down in the first place. You can find parts you need, articles on, and education of other ways to increase your companies profits, by reducing cost.