On the surface, accessing adult content and other inappropriate material at work may just look like a few minutes of wasted employee time. In reality, employee web surfing leads to a loss of productivity and can even expose you to lawsuits if surfing leads to adult content sites. More than 75% of employees have visited pornographic and adult-themed sites while at work, though most of them won’t admit that it was anything more than an accident.
Even if employees know that your company has policies against viewing adult content at work, some are likely to violate the policies if they know you don’t have an adult filter in place. As you choose content blockers, you must keep both your needs and your employees’ needs in mind. Some things to consider as you compare adult content filtering options:
- Decide why you need to an adult filter. If employee productivity is down because of extensive browsing, you’ll want content filtering software that blocks more than just adult content. If your main goal is to block adult content to reduce your liability and create a more professional environment, you have a wider range of options.
- Determine whether all employees except those with administrative access need the same level of content blocking. If some employees do web-based research, you may want to lift restrictions for them to ensure that no research materials they need are blocked. If this is the case, be sure to get a filter that allows you to create different levels of access.
- Choose a level of monitoring that’s comfortable for you and fits in with your corporate culture. Some web filters provide you with reports on employee computer use, including exact keystrokes. Before you implement a solution like this, make sure that it won’t damage employee morale.
Choose content-filtering software for a single network-wide solutionAdult content filter software is easy to install and easy to remove, making it a flexible option, generally. Most content filtering software works on all computers in your network. With administrative access, you can customize your own white lists and sites that should be blocked.
Use integrated hardware/software solutions for greater securityIntegrated adult content filter solutions bypass the software's usual per-user fee, so you only pay one price regardless of how many users you have. However, most of these filters come in a variety of models to best target the number of users on your network, with lower user numbers meaning a lower price. Integrated solutions are generally more accurate than adult content filter software.
Explore DNS services for free web filtersFor a free web filter, consider using a DNS service with a built-in content blocker. These are cost-effective solutions, especially if you have a small business and just need to block content rather than monitor your employees.
- Let employees know when you implement a new adult content filter. It's helpful to present the filter in conjunction with a reminder of your web surfing policies. If you haven't yet developed clear policies on computer use, present those before you install the filter. Be ready for some initial bumps, regardless of the adult content filter you choose.
- Make sure you implement the filter when your IT staff isn't especially busy with other projects or updates.