10 Disruptive Online Services Enterprises Should Ban From the Network

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-05-06

10 Disruptive Online Services Enterprises Should Ban From the Network

The Internet has become a savior for many companies. With the Web’s help, companies can expand their reach to other markets, dramatically improve their business processes to improve productivity and profitability.

Cloud-based business applications are allowing people to work productively anywhere. But as the Internet’s popularity has soared, so too, have services and technologies that might actually hurt productivity.

Not only are these sites distracting, some of them can even compromise network security. For all its benefits, the World Wide Web has also become a treacherous web of security and management pitfalls that IT decision-makers contend with every day.

To get a handle on the risks, enterprises are justified in blocking certain sites and services that could do more harm than good. Sometimes employees don’t like that. But if they are working on a corporate network they have to strictly following all network access policies or go work someplace else.

Take a look at some of the online services companies should block ban from the corporate network.

1. YouTube, of course

This one is an obvious one, isn’t it? YouTube with extremely rare exceptions has never served as a productive business information platform for enterprises. It is a bottomless time sink that distracts employees from productive work by viewing and sharing videos that are often inappropriate in an office environment. It should always be blocked.

2. Facebook is a brain drain

Facebook is nice for the marketing department to get the word out about the latest company news, but why a typical employee in accounting or management should have access to Facebook is anyone’s guess. Facebook is a productivity killer and depending on what folks share through the social network, a potential security issue.

3. The same is true for Twitter

Speaking of security issue, Twitter is arguably one of the biggest potential concerns facing companies today. The social network has no real value to anyone outside of the marketing department, and links and images and other potentially harmful media are shared with ease. Save yourself the grief and block Twitter.

4. Social-gaming sites

Oddly, there are some companies that don’t block social-gaming sites, like Zynga, PlayFish and others. Why? Those sites serve no purpose to anyone within a company and only kill productivity. They should always be banned from use in the office.

10 Disruptive Online Services Enterprises Should Ban From the Network

5. Adult-oriented sites, naturally

Adult sites are another group of services that must be blocked in the enterprise. Not only are they inappropriate and could cause lawsuits, but they’re security risks because they are ridden with security flaws or are actively often times riddled with security flaws or will actively install malware any time someone visits them resulting in the compromise of corporate networks. Keep far away from them.

6. Vine social video-sharing site

Have you heard of Vine? If not, you better get to blocking it. The service is essentially a video tweet, allowing people to post quick clips of whatever they want and post it on the Web for all to see. As one might expect based on that description, Vine is bad news waiting to happen. And since it adds a mobile component, it’s a double whammy in a BYOD-controlled enterprise.

7. Any shopping site with poor security and a worse reputation

Many people will make quick purchases on shopping sites while they are at work, especially during holiday periods. There on shopping sites—allow them to ensure that employees are at least in the office during the busy holiday season or block them to keep them working. Although both policies have their virtues, it might just be best to block any shopping site that doesn’t have a strong reputation for security and reliability. Sites like Amazon, however, might be worth allowing access to in order to in order to limit shopping season “days off.”

8. Is Pandora really necessary?

The Pandora music recommendation site is another time waster that deserves to be banned from corporate networks. On one hand, some folks do better work when listening to music. On the other, they spend too much time curating their music libraries and not enough time actually getting work done. So, companies need to determine whether music sites, like Pandora, are really necessary. In most cases, they’re probably not.

9. Security software sites

This one might sound odd, but it’s always a good idea to block software security sites. Unfortunately, employees sometimes think that they know better than CIOs about what kind of security tools the company should install to keep computers and networks secure. Before you know it, they’re downloading security programs to suit their personal preferences. Companies don’t need the extra headaches. Block security sites and use only what has been approved.

10. Anonymizer Web tools

With all of these filters in place, one might wonder what would stop employees from accessing anonymizer tools on the Web that would allow them to sidestep the security policies or Website bans. It’s a good question, and one that can be answered by blocking known anonymizer tools, online instructions and other information that would make it possible for employees to do such a thing.

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