"You can't monitor someone for going to someplace that they can't get to," quips Lewis.
Despite Deseret's restrictive policy, Lewis has made an accommodation for personal Internet use by installing terminals for that purpose in the lunchroom. Lewis' operations network manager came up with the idea for this setup; he suggested kiosks as a break-time benefit where employees could take care of personal business. Although Lewis still blocks the sinful six, employees have access to shopping, banking, travel and sports sites. Deseret doesn't monitor usage on these computers. There's a standard login. When an employee finishes, the entire computer is refreshed. There is no limit on the time employees can spend online -- as long as they're on break time.
"There are people at them every time I go down to the lunchroom," says Lewis.
Lewis knows that people might say he's being "draconian" but counters, "Why would you let employees go anywhere and then fire them if they went to [an inappropriate site]? Why give them the temptation?"
Monro Muffler Brake Inc. also has a strict policy. The $400-million brake and muffler company, based in Rochester, N.Y., has about 700 company-owned stores in 17 states. Its filtering software blocks the usual inappropriate sites like porn, but also sports and shopping sites, which are inaccessible between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to most of its office employees.
"We set a rule that sites will be blocked, but [are] accessible after 5 p.m. If they do want to do fantasy football, they can do it after work hours," says John Appleman, the company's IT director.
Appleman blocked fantasy football and other sports and gambling sites because he "thought it would be a time waster." As it turns out, he was right. After the company deployed filtering software from Sunnyvale, Calif.-based SonicWall Inc., some employees complained that the blocking was too severe. But after a bit of investigation, Appleman was seeing "a lot of attempts to get into those [sports and gambling] sites." They didn't really have much of an argument, he says. They shouldn't have been going there in the first place.
Monro Muffler already had a computer policy in place that indicated that the company monitored Internet usage. But it made no formal announcement when it started blocking websites. "When they're blocked, they get reminded," he says. Monro Muffler has customized a Web page that comes up when a user goes to a blocked site to say, "If you have questions about accessing a site, contact the help desk."
This was first published in January 2007