Magazine publisher Conde Nast Publications (CNP) said this week that a web filtering service has freed its IT staff from an endless cycle of having to disinfect its 650 desktop PCs of spyware.
The company signed up to the service after its IT helpdesk staff felt they were struggling to cope with calls from staff complaining about the slow speed of their machines.
CNP has a policy of allowing journalists free access to the internet to research stories. But this meant machines were constantly being infected with malware.
"There was a period last autumn when we were spending more time cleaning up the PCs than dealing with normal help calls. It was like being on a hamster wheel," said IT director Lauraine Turner.
IT staff tried to solve the problem by wiping hard discs, but machines were quickly re-infected. IT staff found 30 or 40 pieces of malware on some hard discs.
CNP tried several anti-spyware packages but found they dramatically slowed internet access. It opted to outsource its web filtering to the Scansafe service, provided through Messagelabs.
"It has made a huge difference. We just don't get those sorts of calls any more. It is hard to put a price on it," said Turner. She believes the system paid for itself during Conde Nast's recent deployment of Windows Service Pack 2, enabling the project to be completed with fewer staff.
"We were struggling to do the SP2 roll-out and testing because we were spending so much time disinfecting PCs. The moment we locked the gate, I was able to allocate one person to the SP2 roll-out and within a short time we were able to roll with it," she said.