Most UK businesses are opting for selective bans on internet activities rather than complete bans or allowing unrestricted access, according to a survey of more than 2,000 workers commissioned by IT services provider Dimension Data.
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The survey, conducted by YouGov, found that 46% of UK employees were allowed selective internet access, compared with 14% who had no access at all and 38% who had unrestricted access. The remaining 2% said they did not know what level of access they had.
The greatest number of total bans were in the banking, financial and insurance sector, the highest level of partial restriction was in the public sector, and the most unrestricted access was in the media, publishing and entertainment sector.
"UK businesses are coming to terms with the fact that internet and related applications such as instant messaging are sometimes used by employees for personal purposes," said Alastair Broom, security business manager at Dimension Data.
"By accepting this and working towards a compromise with employees, be it monitoring web usage, a ban on certain web sites or open access only at certain times, they can mitigate risks while maintaining a happier, productive workforce," he said.
The study found that almost half (46%) of those with internet access at work were using it for online banking and nearly one in five (19%) it for accessing social networking sites. Other uses included instant messaging (18%), file sharing (13%) and downloading media files (10%).