How Businesses Block Websites from their Employees
If no one in your organization is getting any work done because they are always distracted by the ever-inviting Internet available to them on their desks, it is possible that you have considered setting up a web filter that could help your employees help themselves from getting sucked into the delights of the Internet any moment you turn your backs on them. If you have been trying to learn something about which websites to consider keeping out of your office, a look at OpenDNS’s recently published report of the choices that organizations across the country make when they block websites or allow them on internal computers, should help you.
The problem with going to OpenDNS’s list to block websites in your business is that some of the websites that appear on their most-blocked list also appear on their most-allowed list as well. For instance, the website that makes it to the top of the most-hated list is Facebook. A full quarter of all businesses set their filters to make sure that Facebook is persona non grata. It would appear that businesses just agree that Facebook is a time waster in the office. Confusingly though, Facebook is also on the list of the top three websites that businesses specifically tell their filters to make an exception for. For some reason, businesses around the country are evenly divided on whether Facebook is a great way to work or great way to waste time.
So how does OpenDNS know anything about who tends to block websites like Facebook in the office and who doesn’t? A DNS or Domain Name System service, is the network system that takes the name of every website that you key in to convert into an IP address number that the computers that process the Internet can actually understand. OpenDNS is a DNS service that companies can get on for a subscription. Of course, everyone has a DNS server right on their ISP; but OpenDNS provides some powerful functions that no regular ISP ever does. The reason that businesses love OpenDNS is that it offers great filtering tools.
The Internet being all about granting people the freedom of knowledge, freedom-of-speech advocates who love the Internet’s reach criticize OpenDNS for making it so easy for businesses to exercise censorship. Whatever the social thinkers might feel, OpenDNS really is extremely popular. Computers in businesses around the country access OpenDNS servers for 25 billion webpage lookups every day. Seen another way, a full 1% of all Internet lookups on Earth go through OpenDNS.
But Facebook (and MySpace, a close second), aren’t the only websites that businesses choose to block. YouTube happens to be a top favorite too. YouTube probably makes it on the list not just because it wastes time that employees might use otherwise to do some real work, but because video downloads eat up a lot of bandwidth (that businesses have to pay for). But businesses try to block ad serving services like DoubleClick and YieldManager about 80% of the time too. Some companies just believe that the tracking cookies that these services install on their computers cause compromises to their safety and security.
Why do some businesses allow Facebook though when so many place it on their list of websites to ban? It could be because some businesses see that Facebook and other social networking sites are important ways in which a company connects with its customer base.