For better security, cut off online holiday shopping at work

For better security, cut off online holiday shopping at work
The recent trend of secret online holiday shopping while on the job may be a thing of the past. Workers who have not tried to make an online purchase at work for several months may be surprised if they try to shop from the office this coming Black Friday or Cyber Monday. According to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology, 60 percent of chief information officers have blocked access to online shopping sites at their companies – up from 48 percent last year. Another 23 percent said they allow access, but monitor activity for excessive use. Only 13 percent of CIOs said they allow unrestricted access to online shopping sites. “With an increasing number of firms blocking access to shopping sites, many employees may turn to mobile devices to shop at the office,” said John Reed, executive director of Robert Half Technology. “Spending excessive time on non-business activities while at work raises a red flag for employers.” So what should employees do?
  • Follow the rules. Know what your company’s Internet browsing policies are, and follow them to the letter.
  • If you are allowed to shop online, go with a goal. Don’t spend hours looking for potential purchases. Only go online to buy a specific deal you’ve been waiting for.
  • Be smart on your smartphone. Just because you can shop on your phone, that doesn’t mean you should spend all day doing it.
  • Don’t be a phishing victim. Tis the season for scams. Don’t embarrass yourself by infecting the corporate network with poor buying behavior.
And what about employers? The statistics showing that nearly two-thirds of CIOs restrict access to shopping sites should be a tip-off.
  • Drop your employees a note. Now is a good time to re-explain and re-emphasize the details of your corporate policies regarding online shopping. Don’t sound like a dictator. Instead, talk about the limits you are imposing and why they are important to productivity, network security and more. Afraid there will be a rebellion? Offer an “early dismissal” of one or two hours for each worker some time during the holiday season, saying it’s specifically so they can complete their shopping.
  • Check into your network’s access policies. If your company doesn’t currently restrict access to shopping sites, perhaps it should. This could improve worker productivity for everyone and prevent workers from succumbing to the temptation of spending their work hours shopping.
  • Be aware of mobile devices. Just because they aren’t shopping on a corporate PC, doesn’t mean your workforce isn’t buying on the web. Smartphones and tablets make it all possible.
  • Get serious about security. Unfortunately, fake shopping sites can create a security hazard for your network. Put measures in place to block these scam sites and keep your network healthy.

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