October 29, 2006
By Jody Jankovsky
Special to the Sun

What is your computer really being used for? Are your employees really crunching numbers on that big deal or are they searching the net for a deal on the coolest technology or the hottest new clothes? Is your teenage son or daughter really researching for a school paper or is he or she doing another kind of “research”? Even though the Internet is a very powerful tool for companies and personal users alike, measures should be taken to make sure it is used safely and properly. For the curious parent or the “up in the middle of the night” business owner, options exist to alleviate these concerns. Software systems are now available to monitor and report on all activities that occur on a computer. Web sites visited, e-mail content, instant message
communications, and more can now be tracked and logged for easy review. While this may seem like an invasion of privacy, it’s completely legal. This is a very effective solution and can be implemented on any computer as long as it is owned by the parent
or business owner.

For the concerned parent, it provides an effective tool to help protect their children from exposure to undesirable content and people. Not only has the Internet made it possible for greater communication and learning, but has introduced many dangers as well. Pornography and sexual predators have become a growing problem; knowing what your children are up to may not only be prudent but can help protect them as well. Some
resources on Internet safety for children are available at www.blacklineconsulting.com/parent. For the business owner, computer tracking should be reserved for extraordinary circumstances and shouldn’t be considered a silver bullet to improve employee productivity. The first step is a strong “electronic use” policy, describing the proper use of office technology. This has become a standard for most businesses today and should be a part of the employee manual. For an example of an electronic use policy, please visit: www.blacklineconsulting.com/policy. Talk to your IT consultant for further security information.

Jody Jankovsky is managing partner and owner of Black Line Consulting. He can be reached through his Web site at www.blacklineconsulting.com or by calling 630-388-1700.