Archives for January 2010

An IT manager's view on e-mail and Internet policies and procedures

Thursday, January 28, 2010 No Comments

We found this very good research paper-style article on e-mail and Internet policies and procedures, from the stance of an IT manager. Very good stuff…

An IT manager's view on e-mail and Internet policies and procedures
Journal of Instructional Psychology, Dec, 2009
By Mayur S. Desai, Jeff Hart, Thomas C. Richards


E-mail is mandatory tool of communications any business to survive in the 21st century. It is imperative that Information technology (IT) managers monitor and make sure that the e-mail systems are used properly. In order to organize a systematic process for proper use of email an administrator must have an input into the development of appropriate e-mail policies and procedures. IT administrators must develop and understand the policies and procedures for the management of E-mail systems. This research highlights on the importance of e-mail policies and procedures as they relate to employees use of e-mail systems and the responsibility assigned to an e-mail administrator in the management of this usage. This research also addresses liability issues and how the law applies to e-mall management. Read more ›

theOS Featured on the Small Buisness Advocate Radio Show!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 No Comments

theOS Featured on the Small Buisness Advocate Radio Show! - We are ever-so-proud to have been on our first radio show for The Office Software promotions. Jim Blasingame was kind enough to bring us on his radio show, The Small Business Advocate. Check them out and click below to hear the interview!



Social Media Policy in Business

Friday, January 22, 2010 No Comments

Social Media Policy in Business

I find this of personal interest because I, myself, am the social networking person for my company. This very interesting article is sort of a look at the ethics of social networking for businesses. This doesn’t really have to do with monitoring, per se – though it would be a good idea to know if your employee is spending more time in their own personal accounts or the company’s.

(Happy Friday)

Jan 25, 2010
Do You Need a Social Media Policy?
There's a lot to consider when it comes to representing your brand on social media sites, including what guidelines you need (if any) to protect yourself.
By Tamara Schweitzer, Inc.com

Social media mishaps happen all the time. Who hasn't said something on a personal blog or Twitter, or on their Facebook status updates that they haven't regretted later? But, what happens, for example, when an employee posts on their personal Twitter account about the horrible meeting they just had, which turns out was with one of your company's biggest clients? Even if the employee doesn't mention the client by name, he or she has crossed a line into potentially defaming the client and damaging your company's reputation. The consequences could result in a lost account or even a potential lawsuit. While most professionals interacting in the social media space exhibit common sense, these scenarios can and do happen, and it's in your best interest to be prepared. Read more ›

Bad News for Employers: Your Employees are Wasting Your Time and Money on Social Networks

Wednesday, January 20, 2010 No Comments

Bad News for Employers: Your Employees are Wasting Your Time and Money on Social Networks
Social networks are destroying employee productivity in the workplace. Statistics show 64% of employees use company time to browse sites like Facebook. Companies are losing millions, perhaps billions of dollars per year due to cyberslacking. The Office Software (theOS) is the best network-based productivity tool to help managers monitor employees and achieve increased productivity and enhanced security.

Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) January 19, 2010 -- The Internet has made all our lives easier. We can shop online, pay bills and, most importantly, keep in touch with our friends and family. But our leisure can often come at the expense of our employers.

"Statistics indicate that checking social network profiles at work has become the new coffee or cigarette break," says Pandora Corp. co-founder Jamie Leasure. "But the problem is, it can be done without anyone, especially managers, noticing. It's very easy for an employee to spend many hours each day checking their Facebook page; whereas it would be impossible for them to not be at their desk for extended periods of time."

To help businesses cope with employee Internet abuse, often referred to as "cyberslacking," Pandora Corp., makers of the well-regarded PC Pandora monitoring software, have introduced The Office Software (theOS), a monitoring software tool that will allow employers to dramatically increase employee efficiency.

"Employers have every legal right to monitor employee Internet activity," says Leasure. "And in this economy, companies can't afford lost productivity. They need to ensure that their employees are efficient and their business is running smoothly."

Statistically speaking, an overwhelming majority of both employees and employers feel it is ok to surf non-work-related websites while on the job. The difference of opinion comes when surfing turns into an obsessive distraction.

"There is a difference between quickly replying to a personal email - or checking in with the family through IM - versus spending 15 minutes of every hour checking and updating your Facebook page," notes Leasure.

According to a recent survey, 77% of US workers who have a Facebook account say they check their pages from work; the average amount of time lost to Facebook alone is 40 minutes. That doesn't include other random web surfing and cyberslacking.

Pandora Corp. co-founder Manuel Coats says statistics like those should shock employers to their 'bottom line' core.

"Think about it: for every dozen employees you have that check their Facebook regularly," Coats explains, "you have the equivalent of a full-time employee getting paid to be a social network butterfly."

The Office Software is a multi-functional office productivity tool designed to help managers of small and medium-sized business achieve increased productivity. The program allows managers to monitor and analyze activities performed by employees and the time spent on different work items. It also affords the ability to track computer usage and access an employee's desktop in real-time.

"Managers and business owners need to be able to see how their employees are spending the work day," says Leasure. "Being able to obtain reports of daily activity, and then analyze and compare them is priceless in today's corporate environment."

While the internet has become a commonplace item in our daily lives, it can indeed have negative effects on companies' bottom lines. But employers can reverse those effects.

"With tools like The Office Software," Coats concludes, "you can increase productivity by controlling cyberslacking. Remember, it's not only the time spent on social network sites like Facebook and Twitter that are an issue -- it's also the fact that an employee's concentration and focus are disrupted throughout the day by these sites. If an employee knows they are being monitored, and a manager can tap into any employee's monitor display with the press of a button, cyberslacking is stopped in its tracks and office efficiency and productivity improves."

For more information on The Office Software and to learn how it works, visit http://www.theofficesoftware.com/

System Requirements:
The Office Software requires Windows Vista, Windows XP or above; Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework (available with theOS installer). an Intel or AMD processor running at 1GHz or faster (dual core recommended for Dashboard); 512M RAM for Agent, 1GB RAM for Dashboard; 40MB of HDD space for the installation; 10M - 15M of hard disk space for a typical day of recording; an Internet Connection (dial-up modem, cable modem or DSL) for program registration; Administrative or Power User access rights to install the software. Agent (employee) computers require a LAN connection to the Manager computer.

About Pandora Corp.:
Formed in 2005, Pandora Corporation has one goal - to help our customers monitor, control and protect their families, their businesses and themselves online. Pandora Corporation's flagship PC Pandora monitoring software is an essential tool that helps parents keep their children safe from predators and cyberbullies, while shielding them from potentially harmful or mature content. Pandora Recovery is a free data recovery tool that allows users to recovery lost and deleted files from NTFS and FAT-formatted drives. The newest product, The Office Software (theOS), allows employers to monitor employee computer and internet activity, thereby increasing productivity and protecting company assets.

Should Employers Ban Facebook at Work?

Monday, January 18, 2010 No Comments

A very interesting article from by Jennifer LeClaire at Newsfactor.com asks the question: should employers ban Facebook at work?


December 26, 2009
Should Employers Ban Facebook at Work?
By Jennifer LeClaire

2009 has indeed been the year of social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. But some say that social networking at work has become too costly in terms of lost productivity and too risky from a security standpoint. Is it time for a complete ban on social networking in the office, or are guidelines and productivity goals a better solution?
Read more ›

Social media going corporate; What that means for Internet use in the workplace...

Friday, January 15, 2010 No Comments

A very interesting article from The San Francisco Chronicle in November looks at how social networking is enhancing the corporate world. We are a great example, as we use blogs, Facebook and sometimes Twitter…

But what happens when the idea of using social media gets abused…? 15 years ago everyone said, “oh wow, let’s use the Internet to help our business,” and it was so, and it got abused. Think the same won’t happen for social networks?

Make sure The Office Software is in your office to keep your employees on task.

November 7, 2009
Social media going corporate
Benny Evangelista, Chronicle Staff Writer
At a conference last month in San Francisco, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts credited an employee's use of Twitter with helping to change the cable giant's corporate culture toward customer service.
Yet a recent survey of corporate technology executives by Robert Half Technology of Menlo Park found that 54 percent of companies prohibit employees from using social-media sites while on the job.
Experts say those companies could stifle the creativity of employees who are using Twitter, Facebook and other networking sites to help their companies.

Read more ›

Cyberslacking is International

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 No Comments

This great article from Digital Moses Confidential highlights a study from across the Atlantic showing that social networking on the job is costing UK businesses over $2 billion! The Office Software can work anywhere there is an office using PCs!

Twitter and Social Networks Cost UK Businesses $2.25 Billion
by Jason Hahn

Morse, an IT services and technology company based in the U.K., recently found that the use of Twitter and other social networks by employees while at work is costing businesses in the country a pretty penny to the tune of £1.38 billion, or $2.25 billion, each year in lost productivity.

Of the 1,460 office workers surveyed for the research study, which was conducted by TNS, 57 percent said they used social networking sites during the work day for personal use, with the average time spent on these sites at 40 minutes each week. Morse handles the math and notes that this is equivalent to a little under a full work week being spent each year by every employee who dwells on social networking sites at their offices.
Read more ›

Bosses Don’t Like You Checking Facebook at Work!

Monday, January 11, 2010 No Comments

I found this very interesting article from The Charlotte Observer, posted on Philly.com… It takes the previous posts study and adds commentary to it… check it out…

Oct. 13, 2009
Checking Facebook at work? Your boss likely doesn't like it
By Jeff Elder, McClatchy Newspapers (MCT)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - More than half of employers say they completely prohibit social media use by workers, according to a new survey of about 1,400 large U.S. companies. But what if the CEO is in her office using LinkedIn, your boss just invited you to become a fan of the company Facebook page, or your competitors are connecting with your clients on Twitter?

Welcome to one of the toughest issues facing employers: Is social networking a valid part of our work life today, or is it "social not-working"?

"It's a blurry line," says Gary Henning, Charlotte-based district director for Robert Half Technology, which conducted the survey. "People are getting their arms around best practices, and there are a lot of concerns. This is a big topic for employers."

Employer Mark Gilman fired an employee whose personal life became too much of a distraction, "and social media was a big part of that."

Read more ›

54% of companies ban social networks at work

Friday, January 08, 2010 No Comments

Welcome to theOS Blog. We have a bunch of stories collected from the past few months to kick off a few discussions. Please feel free to comment and participate in a discussion on a very interesting topic: employee internet abuse/monitoring employee internet activity.

So, without further ado...

Did you know 54% of companies have an outright ban on social network websites at work? Rather than banning, why not just monitor and assess with a tool like The Office Software?

Check out this story in Computerworld from back in October…

Study: 54% of companies ban Facebook, Twitter at work
Some allow limited use of social networks on the job, but most now bar them outright
Computerworld


October 6, 2009 (Computerworld) Planning on firing off a short missive on Twitter or posting an update to your friends on Facebook from the office?


Better check your employer's rules first.


According to a study commissioned by Robert Half Technology, an IT staffing firm, 54% of U.S. companies say that they have banned workers from using social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and MySpace while on the job. The study, released today, also found that 19% of companies allow social networking use only for business purposes, while 16% allow limited personal use.


Only 10% of the 1,400 CIOs interviewed said that their companies allow employees full access to social networks during work hours.


"Using social networking sites may divert employees' attention away from more pressing priorities, so it's understandable that some companies limit access," said Dave Willmer, executive director of Robert Half Technology and a Computerworld columnist, in a statement. "For some professions, however, these sites can be leveraged as effective business tools, which may be why about one in five companies allows their use for work-related purposes."


A study released last summer concluded that social networking use could hurt the bottom line.


Nucleus Research, an IT research firm, reported in July that employee productivity drops 1.5% at companies that allow full access to Facebook in the workplace. That survey of 237 corporate employees also showed that 77% of workers who have a Facebook account use it during work hours.


Nucleus said that the survey found that "some" employees use the social networking site for as much as two hours a day at work. It did not say how many workers fit into that category, but it did note that one in 33 workers surveyed said that they use Facebook only while at work. And of those using Facebook at work, 87% said they had no clear business reason for accessing the network.


And in August, the U.S. Marine Corps reaffirmed its ban on the use of social networks by its soldiers.

Workplace Productivity at an All-Time Low; Pandora Corp. Releases The Office Software (theOS) to Combat Cyberslacking and Security Risks

Thursday, January 07, 2010 Comments Off

Bad news for employers: social networks are destroying employee productivity. Time and money are being wasted at a higher rate than most employers think, as statistics show 64% of employees use company time to browse sites like Facebook. The Office Software (theOS) is the best network-based productivity tool to help managers monitor employees and achieve increased productivity and enhanced security.

(PRWEB) January 7, 2010 -- No one can argue the fact that the Internet has made all of our lives easier. But, increasingly, it has become a black hole for wasted time. And unfortunately, a lot of that time comes at an employer's expense.

To help businesses cope with both "cyberslacking" and security issues, Pandora Corp., makers of the well-regarded PC Pandora monitoring software, has introduced The Office Software (theOS), a monitoring software tool that will allow employers to increase employee efficiency and protect company assets.

"Employers have every legal right - and in some cases a duty - to monitor employee Internet activity," says Pandora Corp. co-founder Jamie Leasure. "And in this economy, companies can't afford lost productivity. They need to ensure that their employees are efficient and their business is running smoothly."

THE ISSUE:
Statistically speaking, an overwhelming majority of both employees and employers feel it is ok to surf non-work-related websites while on the job. The difference of opinion comes when surfing turns into an obsessive distraction.

"There is a difference between checking your personal email to reply to your mother and spending 10 minutes of every hour updating your social network profile," notes Leasure.

On average, workers with an Internet connection spend 21 hours per week online while in the office, a little more than four hours per day. And on average, 26% of that time is spent on personal-interest websites. That amounts to roughly an hour per day, or 22 hours per month.

"For every eight employees you have that spend one hour a day surfing the web for personal interest," Pandora Corp. co-founder Manuel Coats explains, "you have the equivalent of a full-time employee showing up to work and doing nothing."

THE SOLUTION:
The Office Software is a multi-functional office productivity tool designed to help managers of small and medium-sized businesses achieve increased productivity and enhanced security. The program allows managers to analyze activities performed by employees and the time spent on different work items. It also affords the ability to track computer usage at a group and/or an individual level, cross-reference activities reported by an employee, and access an employee's desktop in real-time.

"We think managers and business owners need to be able to see how their employees are spending the work day," says Leasure. "Being able to obtain reports of daily activity, and then analyze and compare them is priceless in today's corporate environment." The Office Software consists of three major components:

  • The Covert Activity Monitor (CAM) monitors various aspects of computer usage and stores the data for managerial review. The goal of this component is to ensure integrity of sensitive data, help employees retain focus and help managers discover and address work-ethics related incidents (cyberslacking, harassment, etc.); the activity recorded includes program usage, websites visited, keystrokes logged, web searches, email correspondence, instant messaging, peer-to-peer/file sharing and system interaction. The Covert Monitor also allows a manger to control aspects of employee computer usage, such as allowed/blocked websites, and the ability to mark certain websites as timewasters, so a manager can easily and quickly see how much time is wasted on non-work-related websites.
  • The Overt Activity Monitor (OAM) allows employees and managers to track time spent on individual tasks. The goal of this component is to help managers and executives estimate the time, the effort and ultimately the cost of individual projects. Employees are able to log their own daily activity in a spreadsheet-like data form (called the "Activity Vault"), while managers can review activity logged and confirm, analyze and compare the reporting. This component is especially important in multi-tasking environment where a single employee often works on more than one project during a reporting period.
  • Finally, the Real-time Access Device (RAD) allows a manager real-time access to an employee's desktop. Often referred to as "ghosting," this component is particularly useful during the initial training phase of entry-level employees, making theOS a desirable and useful tool in the education & training environment.
"The Office Software is intended for small and medium-sized businesses," explains Coats. "But it could easily fit the needs of schools, libraries and other public sectors where there is a need to know what third-party users are doing on in-house computers. The Office Software is specifically optimized for multiple-user environments where traditional monitoring software like our own PC Pandora might not be the perfect solution."

WHY MONITOR?
In this age of advanced technology, employees can know that their bosses are keeping an eye on them while at work; the reasons to do so are numerous and compelling, from a simple productivity issue to a serious legal responsibility.

Courts have ruled that companies are responsible for providing a workplace environment devoid of harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment can be a direct result of cyberslacking. According to one study, 70% of all traffic to Internet pornography websites occurs between the hours of 9AM and 5PM - during the typical working day.

"Employees might also send pornographic natured emails to their coworkers," says Leasure. "Sometimes those emails can make their way to someone in the office that does not find it funny, but degrading, and the office managers and CEOs must become involved."

There's also an issue of inter-office romances. While many relationships are accepted when openly noted, it is usually against company rules to carry on a relationship with a co-worker in secret.

Additionally, there is the issue of intellectual property - the lifeblood of a company. According to a 2007 survey by the Enterprise Strategy Group, 32% of companies surveyed reported losing intellectual property within the 12 months prior to the survey. Add that statistic to the fact that 80% of computer-related crime related to businesses is performed by "insiders," and it's very easy to see why monitoring employee activity is essential in the interest of security.

"Imagine what could happen if a disgruntled or terminated employee sent your client lists, mailing lists, project timelines or other valuable property to a competitor," says Coats. "The Office Software gives you a step up and provides you with the knowledge you need to stop a leak before it gets serious."

While the Internet has become commonplace in our daily lives, it can indeed have negative effects on companies. From employee productivity to breaches of security, employers are recognizing the necessity of monitoring the Internet usage of their employees as a way to stop the abuse.

"When you use a program like The Office Software," Leasure concludes, "you'll be able to increase productivity and protect your company's assets at the same time."

For more information on The Office Software and to learn how it works, visit http://www.theofficesoftware.com/

System Requirements: The Office Software requires Windows Vista, Windows XP or above; Microsoft .NET 2.0 framework (available with theOS installer). an Intel or AMD processor running at 1GHz or faster (dual core recommended for Dashboard); 512M RAM for Agent, 1GB RAM for Dashboard; 40MB of HDD space for the installation; 10M - 15M of hard disk space for a typical day of recording; an Internet Connection (dial-up modem, cable modem or DSL) for program registration; Administrative or Power User access rights to install the software. Agent (employee) computers require a LAN connection to the Manager computer.

About Pandora Corp.: Formed in 2005, Pandora Corporation has one goal - to help our customers monitor, control and protect their families, their businesses and themselves online. Pandora Corporation's flagship PC Pandora monitoring software is an essential tool that helps parents keep their children safe from predators and cyberbullies, while shielding them from potentially harmful or mature content. Pandora Recovery is a free data recovery tool that allows users to recovery lost and deleted files from NTFS and FAT-formatted drives. The newest product, The Office Software (theOS), allows employers to monitor employee computer and internet activity, thereby increasing productivity and protecting company assets.