If you asked an employee what they understood by ‘monitoring Internet traffic’, they would probably say it is a simple process which is meant to ensure users do not access websites that they are not meant to visit on the company network. That’s part of the equation of course, but in reality there’s more to monitoring Internet Traffic.

Below are six main features good Internet traffic monitoring software should have:

1.     Monitoring and controlling what websites users visit

Among the many benefits of monitoring and controlling what websites users visit, one finds:

  • Protection against cyber-slacking
  • Protection against legal liability
  • Protection against malware infection

Simply put, monitoring and controlling what websites users visit is essential to a business’s well-being.

2.     Ensuring users don’t download malware

Users can come across malware in various ways. They might accidentally click on innocuous-looking websites that are infected with malware, for example. Sometimes even high-profile websites get hacked and distribute malware. There are other cases, however, where employees infect the system with malware intentionally. This could be because they would want to hack some resource they do not have access to, to play a joke on some workmate, or even out of spite – especially if they are leaving the organization on bad terms. These events can avoided when internet control software is used.

3.     Protecting users against phishing attacks

It is in an organization’s best interest to protect its employees against phishing attacks. Falling victim to a phishing attack can be devastating and troublesome. Fixing the damage caused by the attack can take a lot of time – affecting productivity. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Beyond this, a phishing attack might trick an employee into disclosing confidential business information which is obviously undesirable.

4.     Controlling instant messaging

Unrestricted instant messaging (IM) can be a risk to the organization resulting in cyber-slacking, and impacting security. Files transferred through IM can be infected with malware and an employee could also leverage an IM solution to leak confidential information, such as customer lists or source codes.

5.     Controlling streaming media

Streaming media can be a source of excessive bandwidth consumption and legal liability. Controlling streaming media can cut down company costs, as well as increase performance of internet-based services such as email and legitimate web browsing. An employee streaming offensive material, such as pornographic or offensive videos, might also put your company at legal risk.

6.     Monitoring Bandwidth usage

Although monitoring bandwidth usage might seem unnecessary, especially when the above controls are taken into consideration, it does bring some advantages to the table that the other controls do not. Bandwidth usage monitoring can allow an organization to detect intrusions, malware operating on the network, and identify troublesome websites that slow down the internet operations.

Monitoring internet traffic can help an organization in several ways. It provides the organization with web security, can be used to cut down unnecessary costs, and helps detect malicious activity on the network.