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Survey Finds Social Networking and Personal Internet Use Prevalent Among Employees at U.S. And U.K. Organizations

November 3, 2008

8e6 Technologies, a leading Internet security company that proactively protects organizations against Internet-based threats, today announced the results of a recent survey of employees in the United States and United Kingdom documenting the prevalence of personal Internet use in the workplace. Results indicate the most popular sites viewed at work in both countries include Web 2.0 destinations that are heavy on video and third party applications, especially social networking and news sites.

The most surprising statistic is not that a majority of employees (55 percent in the U.S. and 52 percent in the U.K.) use various social networks while at work, but rather an even higher percentage (72 percent in the U.S. and 80 percent in the U.K.) believe they should have full access to social networking sites for personal reasons. This belief cuts across all age groups, from Millennials to the Baby Boomers. In general, workers in the U.K. are more likely to use social networking than their American counterparts.

“As part of our expansion into the U.K. market earlier this year, 8e6 has devoted a significant amount of time and resources to understanding the Internet habits of employees on both sides of the pond. The survey highlights the similarities and differences in both Internet use and workplace culture,” said Eric Lundbohm, vice president of marketing of 8e6 Technologies. “While there are many strategic business reasons why employees in both countries are on social networking, news and streaming media sites, IT must be aware there are also security and regulatory risks associated with employee Internet use. Proper Internet Use Policy education and effective monitoring tools are critical to solving these issues and keeping employees safe, compliant and on-task.”

The survey also reveals that 63 percent of those surveyed access personal e-mail at work, another potential productivity drain and security hole. During breaking news or big sporting events, such as the playoffs or the Olympics, 51 percent in the U.S. and 55 percent in the U.K. check for updates online during the workday, draining bandwidth when viewing these highlights via streaming media.

While more than half of those surveyed said their companies have an Internet Use Policy dictating their use of the Internet at the workplace, most said they have never received any formal training on it. Organizations should hold regular training on the company’s policy so workers are aware of the guidelines.

Although 85 percent in the U.S. and 89 percent in the U.K. believe their level of personal Internet use at work is acceptable, 34 percent of respondents in the U.S. and 35 percent in the U.K. spend at least an hour or more each workday on personal Internet use. Organizations have long been aware of productivity issues related to employee Web surfing at work, as well as potential security concerns. Internet usage, including social networking sites, opens up the network to Web-based threats including spyware, malicious code and other malware. The other significant danger in unfiltered Web access is the risk of employees visiting inappropriate sites, which can lead to potential liability issues.

Additional Survey Highlights

— More U.S. users have used peer-to-peer services to share video or music at work than their U.K. counterparts.

— The majority of those who use social networking to communicate with colleagues, prospects and clients are in the 18-24 age group.

— Users age 40-50 are aware of anonymous proxies used to get around Web filters at the same rate as the 18-24 group, yet about double the number of 18-24 users have used them to access blocked sites.

— A low percentage of users (3 percent in U.K., 5 percent in U.S.) have been disciplined for Internet Use Policy violations.

More survey details can be found online at: http://www.8e6.com/US_UK_Survey_Results

About 8e6 Technologies

Founded in 1995, 8e6 Technologies is a leading Internet security company that proactively protects organizations against Internet-based threats.

8e6 is the only company that combines zero-latency filtering, real-time monitoring and forensic reporting on highly scalable appliances. The company’s 8e6 Labs develops proprietary web application control patterns and maintains a comprehensive URL database to provide zero-day threat protection. The company is the provider of choice for large global organizations with an industry-leading average of 4,000 seats per customer deployment.

8e6 helps organizations to proactively address security threats, effectively manage risk, ensure policy compliance and improve network performance. The company’s solutions are easy to manage and interoperable with any network environment. A two-time winner of SC Magazine’s “Best Buy” (2007-2008), 8e6 delivers the best price/performance and reliability on the market. A Web filtering pioneer since inception, the company maintains headquarters in Orange, California, and has a network of channel partners worldwide. For more information, please call 888.786.7999 or visit www.8e6.com.




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