by November 5, 2002 0 comments

You need to check out an important website for some information, but the Net connect is so slow that ordering the book on the subject by normal post might be faster. Then there’s all this noise about how you can use the Internet to improve your business and productivity. Sure, Internet technology is great, it works, and the fancy e-business models presented by umpteen vendors all look very exciting and promising, but the buck stops at one question–where’s the bandwidth? There never seems to be enough for loading webpages let alone anything else. Most companies today are grappling with this problem, and the solution is not always buying more bandwidth, but rather devising a proper Internet access policy. 

To devise an Internet access policy, you need to identify the problem areas. Analyze your company’s Internet usage patterns, and identify the major causes of congestion. Some of these could be excessive downloads, online chatting, surfing objectionable websites, or even viruses. There are a number of solutions (both software and hardware) for analyzing bandwidth, and some of them have been talked about later in this story. 

Once the cause of congestion has been identified, you need to define a set of guidelines that will overcome them. These must convey the scope of Internet access, which includes what’s permissible and what’s not. For instance, in a lot of companies, employees take recreational surfing as a right rather than a privilege. While many companies would allow Internet access for personal use during off-peak hours, how much is allowed must be defined. 

Finally, the guidelines must be conveyed to the employees, along with the consequences of not following them. These guidelines should cover all aspects of Internet usage like e-mail, objectionable website access, heavy downloads, or even sending out proprietary information. 

Lastly, the policy must be kept simple so that it’s easy to understand. It’s also important to remember that there’s no single Internet access policy that will suit every organization’s needs. You need to devise one according to your Net usage patterns.

Anil Chopra

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