Local software stomps on Internet idlers

Up to 80% of a company's Internet bandwidth is taken up with non-business browsing, according to a recent Ernst & Young report, but a local software product has cut that back by half for one IT manager.

Up to 80% of a company's bandwidth is taken up with non-business browsing, according to a recent Ernst & Young report, but one New Zealand IT manager is reporting a 50% bandwidth saving only one week after installing software produced by Auckland-based Designer Technology.

Managing director Martin Oxley says US companies are targeting employees who surf the Net at work, but it's not just pornography that concerns them.

"We went to [trade show] Network+ Interop and all the CEOs were concerned about their staff spending their days trading shares online — it's just incredible over there."

Designer Technology's suite of tools, Mail-Marshal and WebMarshal, were developed to block email and Internet surfing at work, and so impressed Murray Haszard, creator of the Ghost imaging software, that Binary Research International (BRI) will distribute Marshal in the US and beyond.

"I asked [Haszard] what he thought about it all and he was very good. He showed a kind of 'benevolent disinterest' which was very helpful. He was able to look at the product objectively, which was great," says Oxley.

BRI president Geoff McIntosh says BRI focuses on a small range of products that they can offer support for rather than just act as a warehouse for a large range of products.

"We'll have three primary products that we push: Ghost, Remotely Anywhere and Marshal," says McIntosh, who states that even though Symantec bought Ghost in June 1998, BRI is still the world's largest reseller of the product.

According to Oxley, employees surfing the Net at work or who use work time to send and receive email are costing companies thousands of dollars a year.

"If each staff member is surfing for only six minutes a day, that's 30 minutes a week. If you employ 500 people and pay them $30 an hour, that works out to be $345,000 and that's a conservative estimate."

There's also the risk of security being compromised by either virus or unscrupulous hacker, and then there are always the lawsuits to factor in if one employee is down-loading prohibited or offensive material on company equipment. Employers in the US and Europe have been held responsible for the online behaviour of employees while at work.

A new version of the Marshal suite will be available this month, with an easier-to-use GUI, says Oxley.

Binary Research can be reached at: www. binaryresearch.net.

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