“Security is a mesh of actions and features and mechanisms. No one thing makes you secure”. – Vint Cerf – Chief Internet evangelist
Lot of computer users in the corporate world despises the IT guys; these are the ones who decided the browsing blockade. They put in limitation and minimize internet access to numerous users, without any consideration to the effect of the user’s area of interest. The IT guys call it user privileges. The user calls it restrictions.
Sometime in the past, the only reason the IT department will block access to a website, if necessary was, users surfing pornographic pages. Well, not much corporate activity was required online which eats up bandwidth, however employees were occupied during official hours surfing x-rated sites, hence these sites had to be blocked.
What these users did not know was that, most of these websites have been bug-ridden with malicious codes which affect the computers and send spywares and viruses by clicking these pages. The harsh effect to the system were so enormous that, the entire local network became infested with malicious applications and spy programs running in the process, whiles annoying adverts and pop-ups keep flashing up for user attention.
In an attempt to block these pages, the IT guys list certain key words and characters and manually entered them into some fields in the user’s browser application to restrict browsing access. Such characters as ‘sex’, ‘xxx’, ‘porn’ etc. which could be identified in all porn website were entered and blacklist and therefore blocked, as simple as that.
It so happens that users are enthused into surfing the web for person pleasure even when the negative effects on systems are glaring at them.
These were activities before the dominance of web 2.0 now that was history.
The game has been elevated, but the same players exist in greater numbers. The players remain the browsers with the same corporate laptops and desktops and the IT guys doing the blocking.
Lately, huge budgets are being proposed each time to oppose current threats of cyber attacks and spam, enhance internet traffic securely enough for virtual data transfer, which by and large are compromised as a result of users online behavior.
It will be observed that, there is no desire for users to visit adult sites like it used to be its easy for one to say that that surfing these sites are dying down and becoming more unpopular.
As much as this observation will be very true, the credit will certainly not go the limitation of privileges or the fiscal budgets and gadgets to enhance data traffic. The credit to this observation will be as a result of the emergence of web 2.0
Web 2.0 has been developed with collaboration in mind, and it is coupled with applications that facilitate participatory knowledge sharing with a user-centered design on the internet.
In the past, websites were mainly passive, even though dynamic in design had limitations in interactions, other websites were purely static pages where users are viewing contents created for them just as the x-rated.
With this new platform, there are tools that make you collaborate making the whole browsing experience interactive, where each and everybody can generate contents in dialogue with other browsers.
The internet has been made accommodative like never before, a lot of things have changed; now people are living virtual lives with online communities of friends and families from places and cities in locations on planet earth they have never visited.
There’s no enough time for the average users to visit virtual friends and share fun, attend to work duties and having to browsing x-rated sites. You may say people come of age, but that’s the reality when change happen.
Putting all these add-ons and fun together, the administrators of Internet traffic begin to wake up to a realization than existed before; in data traffic analysis, there is more heavy consumption on one channel and the question begin to surface ‘let’s measure this channels activities against productivity’.
This is one question that makes the IT managers draw the line between privileges, security and priority.
It becomes very frustrating for Managers to observe for periods in time; almost all their young executives get very busy during office hours spending time facebook, youtube and skyping and other social network at corporate expense.
It’s never been a pleasant feeling having to restrict workers from the online community they belong and associate most. Social media and facebook have been very successful in areas other than the corporate environment. It has aided in political awareness of persons seeking political offices in recent times, but not the benefit of the corporate world
Facebook and social networks were in the forefront of the youth uprising that brought to the fall of the Governments of Hosni Mubharak and Ben-Ali of Egypt and Tunisia respectively. They aided in political campaign of Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama of the US Election 2008 that never existed in bring so many youth on board the campaign. Some Countries in the East and China actually saw ahead of time and blocked access to this platform in time before it got this popular. It could have been used as a major weapon against those governments where communication is strictly monitored ‘filtered’.
You can imagine the effect on the corporate industry when employees are at liberty to publish uprising and political inferno at work place. In some organizations, despite the freeze on social networks, there’s some room for browsing after active hours.
When there’s a clear understanding, what justifies the block on these networks, it become easy finding common grounds for the employee equally aware of the risk factors to reconcile with management.
Two major reasons as I have already stated are the bandwidth consumption; video streaming, live sessions and chat and the fact that traffic needs to be optimized for business e-transactions and secondly, abuse of productive hours and inefficiency.
Some Managers come to the agreement when bandwidth subscription is charged on fixed term basis and irrespective of the downtime, same charges applies, so instead of disallowing users from browsing if they choose to stay late which will not affect cost, reduce the restriction on some finite hours when productivity and internet security threat issues have been addressed.
Admittedly, social networking is the tool of the moment and everybody on all sides agree to that, it’s no coincidence that social network developers are coming in agreement with handset manufactures to develop their devices in compliance to these networks.
With over 750 million users on facebook, you can never estimate the influence these networks has on people, the IT manager and his team of Administrators enforcing these restrictions are culprits, of course they are on all these networks. But make no mistake, not everybody can enjoy the same privilege. Big brother will always be monitoring.