Discussion Thread

  • 1.  Sowing Distrust

    Posted 05-08-2022 11:59 AM
    Shouldn't there be a level of trust that the employee won't browse the internet during work hours?

    I understand that employers would not want an employee distracted during work hours. An employer can rightfully say: "If you don't go onto distracting sites then why would you care if the site is blocked?"

    I'm disregarding the defense that one can use YouTube videos to try to understand a concept (before asking/bothering my manager) because I'm curious about the employer/employee relationship. 

    Does having blocked sites plant a small seed of distrust in an employee?

    Daniel Bressler EIT, A.M.ASCE
    Structural Engineer
    Brooklyn NY

  • 2.  RE: Sowing Distrust

    Posted 05-09-2022 07:54 AM
    Companies often block sites as an IT security measure.  In today's world of cybersecurity it is often better to air on the side of caution. If the site is needed for work, It may be possible to have it removed from the blocked list.  Even a small intrusion/malware/breach can cost a lot to fix, not to mention the possibility of losing clients because your IT security issues have also impacted their business. I wouldn't necessarily jump to the conclusion that the company doesn't trust its employees.

    Kevin Miller P.E., M.ASCE
    Water Resources Engineer
    Independence KY

  • 3.  RE: Sowing Distrust

    Posted 05-09-2022 10:40 AM
    If done correctly, I think cybersecurity is a good thing. I've come across a few blocked websites over the years at work, but for the most part it has never been one I wanted to use. Usually, it was a random link to a webpage I clicked while searching for an answer to a question I had, one of many of which could have answered my question. Its difficult to create a program that perfectly understands which web pages are safe and which are not. 

    The larger the company, the more security breaches tend to happen as well. The municipal client that my company consults to has removed admin permissions from all user PCs, so that nothing can be installed without the consent of the IT department. This does not impact a lot of people in their day to day work, but it has impacted my group. I personally find it frustrating, but after seeing the number of user-caused security breaches in the past, I can understand why it has become necessary. For most IT departments, the promise of avoiding a virus that could corrupt or ransom your data is worth the extra frustration to their end users.

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 4.  RE: Sowing Distrust

    Posted 08-28-2022 11:04 PM
    I am sure there should be trust that employees will focus on their work while working; i.e., that no one will spend their working hours playing games or deliberately risking the security of the work computers. To that end, I think it's reasonable if a company would block gaming sites that are irrelevant to the workload, whereas sites like YouTube should be available, because YouTube would contain plenty of tutorial videos for work tasks, along with music for employees like me to listen to while working.

    Alexander Granato A.M.ASCE
    Bexley OH

  • 5.  RE: Sowing Distrust

    Posted 08-30-2022 07:53 AM
    Employees should not take it personally. IT ONLY TAKES ONE. Chances are that ONE is no longer around to tell their story given their release due to the violation of company policy. Chances are it started over 30 years ago and ONE is released every decade. 

    I bet there are a lot of folks that know someone that knows someone who was released due to inappropriate use of company resources. You can tell employees "hey, the company can track your computer use down to the keystroke" and someone will eventually find a way to have HR free them to browse the internet at their pleasure. 

    Perception is 9/10 of the work law or perhaps that is one of those other "P" words. While it may be inconvenient, I recommend providing notification to a direct report as to one's browsing needs. Typically, with the proper justification, companies have protocols for accessing blocked sites or unblocking sites that are defined as necessary. They may also have safer alternatives to those sites.

    When the single click can result in the spread of adverse programs or subroutines across a company intranet, to paraphrase K. Miller view it as an IT cybersecurity strategy. I looking to implement this strategy on home computers.

    James Williams P.E., M.ASCE
    POA&M Structural Engineering, PLC
    Yorktown, VA