Strong streaming media guidelines protect productivity and security

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Employees need to know what kind of internet activity is permitted and what is against the rules.

People are streaming more shows and movies than ever since the coronavirus lockdowns began. Sometimes this occurs during work hours, and sometimes this content creates a security risk to corporate networks. Establishing a clear policy about streaming media will help employees understand what they can--and can not do--and protect company assets.  

SEE: Streaming media policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Watching porn at work

In April 2020, Kaspersky surveyed 6,000 people working from home and among people who admitted watching porn, 51% said they watched the content on the same device that they used for work. Almost 20% said they used a device provided by their employer for this viewing.

Not only does this create a hostile work environment, but  it increases the risk of malware infecting corporate machines and networks. In 2018, Kaspersky found that 23 malware families used porn content to hide their real functionality. Hackers also used adult-themed phishing to steal credentials or infect the user's device. 

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Even if there isn't any malware embedded in a pornography site, hackers may record this viewing activity and use it for blackmail. People who were part of the 2015 Ashley Madison data breach had this unfortunate experience.

SEE: Streaming media policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Access to offensive or inappropriate streaming media content (any published or broadcast content that is likely to be upsetting, insulting, or objectionable to some or most people) should be prohibited on all company networks at all times.

Employees should only download streaming media files on company systems/networks that relate to specific business-related purposes.

Companies need a strict and specific workplace policy about streaming video content at work. It's also a good idea to include user education in this policy so that users understand the risks to which they are exposing themselves and their employer.

In the same Kaspersky survey, 71% of workers had not received any IT security awareness training since they started working from home on a full-time basis.

SEE: Streaming media policy (TechRepublic Premium)

Addressing proper internet use at work

Setting guidelines around streaming content at work also will limit the productivity hit that this activity causes. IDC Research estimates that between 30 and 40% of employee internet activity is not related to work duties. 

Workers also spend time shopping at work with research from the Pew Internet and American Life Project suggesting that 28% of people make online gift purchases during work hours.. If employees know that managers are aware of activities like streaming videos, they may curtail their other non-work related activities.

The Streaming Media Policy from TechRepublic Premium will set expectations for employees and spell out the consequences for policy violations.

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