INDEPENDENT NEWS

CommSoft Teams With Big Byte

Published: Mon 18 Nov 2002 11:09 AM
CommSoft Teams With Big Byte to Make Net Use Safer for Small Business
Small businesses will now have access to the same internet management tools as large organisations with CommSoft’s NetMaster Office launching into all Big Byte stores. Recent high profile cases have made business owners aware of the ease with which people can access undesirable material, potentially causing offence to colleagues and exposing their employer to legal risks. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) need the same measure of protection as has been until now available only to larger organisations.
NetMaster monitors internet activity as it happens, including: web browsing; viewing news groups; downloading files; audio, video, data downloads; and quantity and size of emails, both sent and received.
As well as monitoring, CommSoft’s NetMaster can block access to objectionable material.
“There is a growing need for Internet monitoring and blocking tools and we want to help our customers address this important issue,” says Malcolm Court, Computer Category Manager for Big Byte. “NetMaster is an award-winning product developed in New Zealand. For SMEs, NetMaster can provide a watchful eye on surfing destinations and bandwidth costs – much like the toll report on your monthly phone account. Most small business owners keep an eye on staff phone use, and NetMaster can help them do the same thing for internet use.”
“Big Byte is the leader in the technology SME market, as well as for small and home office,” says Jared Mansfield, CommSoft’s NetMaster Channels Manager. “Most organisations accept that a modest amount of personal internet use is regarded as part of an employee’s package, but communications costs are a disproportionate burden for many SMEs, both in direct bandwidth costs and also lost productivity. For instance, an employee with a salary of $35,000 who spends just 15 minutes a day on personal emails and browsing will cost the business owner $1,120 per year.”
NetMaster Office helps businesses manage internet costs, monitor staff productivity, identify the cause of expensive clogged bandwidth, as well as alerting employers to illegal use. This is a growing concern because company directors and IT managers can now be held personally liable for illegal software or images held on company resources.
NetMaster Office is designed for small network environments where a handful of PCs share a single connection to the Internet. Driven by the same robust architecture as NetMaster Professional, NetMaster Office is a low cost solution that monitors PCs in the smaller organisation.
Systems administrators can use NetMaster to easily generate reports including: who is spending the most time browsing on the internet; which websites are being visited most often and by which PC; the cost of time spent and data downloaded from the internet; and time of day usage trends.
“We recommend that organisations have a responsible internet use policy to sit alongside NetMaster so that staff understand the rights and responsibilities of workplace internet use,” adds Mansfield.
NetMaster’s blocking feature is quick and simple to activate, without intruding on network performance. Without any change to the way NetMaster connects to a network, administrators can specify categories of sites or individual sites that users should not visit.
Some commentators have compared workplace internet monitoring to an intrusive big brother technology.
“Most workplaces require employees to account for use of office equipment like faxes, printers and cell phones, so why not internet use as well?” adds Mansfield. “Recent high profile cases show the risks to individuals and organisations when there is no well-understood acceptable use policy or no means of monitoring use in the workplace.”
NetMaster Office features: Simple to use and interpret: designed for non-technical people to use Flexible ‘exception reporting’ to highlight unusual internet use Sniffing technology meaning no network overhead NetMaster will track absolutely everything No restriction on the number of PCs on a single subnet: perfect for small businesses.
NetMaster Office retails at $275 including GST.

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