GFI Software recently conducted a survey of 620 US workers, and a significant majority of them do not consider employers’ use of web monitoring software an invasion of privacy.
Survey respondents split almost evenly about whether or not their employer uses a web monitoring solution, with only about 10% unsure if such software is being used in their workplace. Contrary to what some employers may think, the survey found that 81% of respondents say they do not consider the use of web monitoring software an invasion of employee privacy.
While we had considerably lower responses from other regions, this view of web monitoring software is not limited to just US employees. 36 workers in the UK responded to our survey, and 77% of them do not view web monitoring as an invasion of their privacy either. The same went for Canada and Australia, where more than 80% of 55 and 42 respondents, respectively, overwhelming say they too do not view web monitoring software as a breach of their privacy at work.
This viewpoint not only spans geographies, but age groups as well. Nearly 87% of respondents older than 60, 78% between the ages of 40 and 59, and 72% younger than 40 do not view web monitoring at work as a privacy issue.
Deploying Web Monitoring Software
An increasing number of employers recognize how solutions like GFI WebMonitor can help strengthen their web security, better control their network bandwidth and track all online activity occurring on their network. However, establishing an Internet usage policy and then deploying a web monitoring solution to enforce it is a sensitive issue for many employers. Why? Because many fear negative reactions from employees, who may feel their privacy is being invaded. However, GFI Software’s survey results suggest that employees are much more receptive to web monitoring software than many employers may assume.
Remember that communication is key to the successful rollout of any software application, especially one with the potential to impact how every employee works and accesses the Internet every day. When deploying web monitoring software:
- Make sure your Internet usage policy is complete and clearly defines what is and what is not acceptable for employees with Internet access
- Communicate with employees and make sure they understand your Internet usage policy and the role that your web monitoring software plays in not only enforcing it but also protecting the company from various online threats
- Invite feedback and modify your policy and your web monitoring rules when appropriate
This survey, conducted in February 2012, was sent to recipients of GFI Software’s VIPRE Security News newsletter. More than 1,600 people responded. More than 800 respondents described themselves as currently employed and were asked to share their opinion of employers’ use of web monitoring software. This was not a scientific study.
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