By Daniel Hunter

Fourteen per cent of the UK workforce spend almost 50 per cent of their time surfing the Internet for personal use, according to research obtained by K3 Managed Services.

On average, 64% of workers in the UK waste one hour a day at work while 14% waste three hours a day; of this time 48% is spent surfing the internet for personal use. K3 Managed Services says employers need to establish a fair usage policy to eliminate time wasting and help to promote greater productivity.

On top of that, downloading illegal files, sharing data across the web and using unlicensed software can all leave a company’s IT vulnerable to malware, viruses and spyware. A clear usage policy can raise awareness of best practice and the ramifications of improper internet usage.

Last year the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) increased the amount companies can be fined for a data security breach from £5,000 to £500,000. With fines this big, businesses cannot afford to take risks.

In its free IT guide, K3 Managed Services, a leading supplier of business solutions for the supply chain, outlines how to implement an effective usage policy to not only best utilise the time of employees but also keep the business on the right side of the law.

An effective usage policy will clearly set out how employees are expected to use computers and the Internet in their workplace. The benefits of a robust usage policy go beyond promoting a better work ethic; it also supports security and licensing policies ensuring a business is not at risk from software piracy or a security breach. A business owner is responsible for their employees use of unlicensed software whether they know about it or not and if caught, would have to pay a substantial fine.

“When we discuss the results of how their bandwidth is being used with our customers, many are shocked to see how much is taken up for personal use by employees," Jason Price, Head of Sales at K3 Managed Services said.

"This poses a dilemma for managers as the Internet and many social media websites are now an integral part of business operations. As digital channels continue to mature, it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to place blanket bans and restrictions on Internet access. However, companies with a robust Internet Usage policy can effectively manage their staff time online, and also ensure that they stay on the right side of the law.”

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