Do you need to restrict content for your employees? Or can you allow them complete and free access to the worldwide web? There’s simply too much information out there, which can result in distraction and lowered productivity. At the same time, too many restrictions can make your team feel suffocated!
It’s important to strike a balance between allowing your team to access the information they need or may need, and keeping your company’s reputation clean by blocking illicit, illegal or unnecessary material.
Here’s a quick ready reckoner to help you plan your company’s content restriction strategy.
What content do you really need?
Let’s say your organization works in the e-learning space. Your team will need to use the internet to better understand some of the content inputs that they’ve received from their client. They’ll need to watch YouTube videos on how to create specific interactive elements. They may need to read technical papers on gamification and game-based learning, in order to stay updated and create content that will make an impact. They’ll also need to refer to material created by competitors, including promotional material put up by them on social media, to position the client’s product in the available learning gaps. These are essential content categories that the employee must be able to access.
What content might you need?
Many employees find that they are more effective if they work while listening to music. For their safety, it’s important to allow them access to the news and local weather updates. You could consider a midway solution by allowing access to audio-only music options, and restricting access to reputed news sites alone – and the amount of time that employees can spend on the site.
Perhaps the most controversial content category is viral social media. Would it help your team to be able to include the latest viral moment in the e-learning content, to keep it relevant and topical? If so, how do you allow access to viral content without losing employee productivity? Can you put a time cap on certain applications or websites?
What content do you definitely NOT need?
Access to personal email is a security risk as much as a productivity issue.
Entertainment content can waste a great deal of time and company bandwidth.
Illegal or illicit material found on official systems and networks can also impact your company’s reputation.
Can this be controlled by blacklisting certain URLs?
No, unfortunately not!
A lot of the video content your employees may need is on YouTube. So is a lot of the content that they don’t! Similarly, personal email may be accessed through the same URL as professional email.
Not to mention that blacklisting thousands – or even millions – of URLs is simply impractical. A more refined solution is required.
Whitelisting specific content categories
The kinds of content that you want to allow your team to access depends on the kind of work your company does. Each category of employee will also need different kinds of content access.
Open source content categorizations for websites and video streaming portals are available online. It is possible to restrict access to content – whether on YouTube or on the internet at large – based on this categorization.
This makes for a much more relevant form of content access control, with necessary content types remaining accessible while irrelevant content is blocked. This helps to save company bandwidth and unproductive employee time.