In a study conducted by law firm William Fry, it has been revealed that 80% of employees have admitted to spending 56 minutes per day on average browsing social media sites while at work. That’s almost 5 hours of productivity that is being lost on a weekly basis. They have also stated that company policy on such activity is being subverted due to workers using their own personal devices during office hours such as their smart phones and tablets. As we are all aware, an outright ban on such applications and devices is largely unrealistic because of course they have their strong points too – applications such as Salesforce.com and Dropbox are very useful for sales teams while Twitter & Facebook are widely used by marketing departments. So how can an organisation control the use of applications in the workplace to reduce the amount of time lost due to social browsing but maintain a healthy corporate social media presence?
Palo Alto Networks’ Next-Generation FireWall provides full visibility of applications passing through the network and at the same time identifies users thus giving full control over application usage. With this, it is possible to apply a granular control and allow for instance the marketing department to access Facebook but block Facebook-Chat. Simultaneously malware is blocked as traffic is being scanned for viruses and the integrated IPS system prevents network related attacks. As the study shows, almost 5 hours of productivity per week is being lost due to the lack of control users have over their network but the NGFW tackles this problem head on while maintaining a high level of security over the network.
What can Palo Alto Networks do for you?
- Visibility – identify individual users and see what is going over the network at a granular application level e.g. see who is using which social network and how often
- Control – restrict who is allowed to do what at application level e.g. allow the marketing department to use Facebook but not Facebook-chat and prioritise business critical applications like Salesforce.com and Dropbox over bandwidth-consuming apps like YouTube and BitTorrent
- Threat Prevention – all in one network security including Anti-Virus/-Spyware, IPS, URL Filtering, SSL decryption, SSL remote access, file blocking and data filtering e.g. identify and block password stealing botnets.
As previously mentioned, personal devices are imposing a huge risk to network security because they are being used for multiple purposes in a variety of locations. The difficulty for employers is the control and management of these devices and the content they are viewing because as the study also revealed, employers can be held liable for any inappropriate activity relating to an employee regardless of whether or not they are aware of the activity. GlobalProtect by Palo Alto Networks addresses the problems of BYOD by expanding the boundaries of the physical network, effectively establishing a logical perimeter that encompasses remote laptop and mobile device users irrespective of their location.
To find out more about Palo Alto Networks and what it can do for your organisation, why not book a webinar with us and we can show you how you can maximise productivity whilst protecting your corporate network through application visibility and control. Click here to register for a webinar
Source: RTÉ News Ireland, 6th May 2013