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Tool for monitoring correct Internet and e-mail usage

I receive a lot of requests from management to have a pragmatic manner of monitoring the usage of Internet and e-mail (words, attachments) in order to have an idea of corporate usage and adherence with corporate standards... without invading people's privacy.

I was wondering if you know of any practical and up-to-date tools available on the market to enforce our Internet usage and e-mail usage policy?

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I note that this question came from someone outside of the United States, so the privacy laws may vary. In the U.S., the general rule is that employees have no expectation of privacy when using their employers' computing assets, including access to the Internet. Whether in the U.S. or somewhere else, it is important to have corporate polices well documented. Users should understand exactly what is allowed and what is not, whether routine monitoring is being done and by whom, and what procedures and penalties apply for violations of the policies.

Having noted the above, there are a number of tools available for monitoring Internet access. As usual, the list below is neither an endorsement of the products mentioned, nor a lack of endorsement for any products left off the list.

For more information on this topic, visit these other resources:
Executive Security Briefing: Tools to guard trusted employees
Best Web Links: Security policy and infrastructure
Best Web Links: Secure messaging

This was first published in September 2002

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