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  1. #1
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    Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    My boss wants to put a stop to staff using their computer's Internet connection to listen to the radio and watch videos in part because it takes away from the overall speed of our Internet connection. Most of what I have found so far addresses Internet usage as it pertains to the appropriateness of websites (e.g. no social network websites), managing email, and the downloading of files. I haven't found anything yet on policies against listening to Internet radio and/or watching videos across the Internet. I would love to hear from those who have encountered something like this. I could use some suggestions on how to go about this.
    Daisy

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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    We do not have a written policy regarding this issue but we do inform new employees when they are processing in that streaming of audio/video is not appropriate for our work environment. We do send out periodic emails to all employees "reminding" them that they are not to listen to internet radio or watch internet videos at work. This activity does impact the available bandwidth resulting in lost productivity as accessing data across the network is slowed down due to the streaming.

  3. #3
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    These are just my thoughts on this as I am not and never have been on a networked system. I'm assuming you are on a network. If so, you should be able to block the major servers of streams by domain or URL or try to block some outgoing port requests for video.

    Remotely sweep the facility for software that is used for video viewing regularly/nightly and uninstall / make policy about installing such programs or plug-ins.
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  4. #4
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    We don't ever get speakers when buying new work PCs. Why would anyone specify them for an office situation?

    This neatly bypasses the problem - and avoids having to deal with infuriating plinky-plonky noises at startup and shutdown!
    BATcher

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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    You obviously don't need to access self-study courses, product presentations, etc, many of which would be next to useless without sound. However, even with these, the expected/polite thing to do is to use headphones.

    Speakers are also well nigh impossible to avoid with laptops and newer flat panel displays, although you could always open the casing in snip the speaker wires.

    As for policy, most larger sites I'm familiar with have reasonably liberal policies on what you can do with your PC, and what you can access on the web. A few have "blacklisted" the worst distractions, but otherwise it's pretty much a free for all. Each new employee, consultant, contractor has to read & sign to acknowledge they've understood the policy. The policies tend to very brief, along the lines of "do whatever is needed to perform your work, but if you compromise security, performance, (corporate) reputation, or do anything illegal you will be dismissed without notice". And they follow through! (It only takes a few quick departures for the word to spread that "being a naughty boy/girl" is a bad idea.)

    In practise what it means is that as long as you behave yourself, you can catch up on news, check The Lounge, etc during your lunch.
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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    <hr>You obviously don't need to access self-study courses, product presentations, etc, many of which would be next to useless without sound.<hr>
    Entirely correct - we don't do this sort of thing, and laptops aren't used in the office. (It just takes a bit of planning... <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15> )
    BATcher

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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    Fair enough, I guess it would work, especially where staff don't need to travel.

    Most clients I deal with are in resources or infrastructure, so many "office" staff end up spending substantial portions of time on site or off shore (along with their laptops). Similarly, my laptop may accompany me to two or three clients on any one day.
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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    A quick Google for:
    <code>"company policy" internet radio video usage</code>
    brings up a few suggestions, such as Developing an effective company policy for employee internet and email use and internet and policy - and this article at techrepublic includes some sample policies.

  9. #9
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    Very good advice. We're a law firm so of course anything I compose will need to be approved before it can be enforced. For the longest time (I've been here 15 years) the attorneys preferred to have none of their personnel policies in writing, probably thinking it would protect them, but in the last 5-6 years everything has been in writing.
    Daisy

  10. #10
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    Unfortunately, from time to time we do need to access Internet video in the course of a case. I've seen cases involving MySpace profiles, YouTube videos, and streaming local news accounts. So I can't block the programs and browser add-ons for video.

    As for Internet radio, I can't cover it all. I will be pulling a custom toolbar about a 10 users have right now that they use to access streaming Internet radio. There are a few others that access streaming Internet radio through a wide variety of radio station websites. That toolbar and most of those websites need Windows Media Player installed on the machine to work. If I block or uninstall WMP wouldn't that also block access to streaming video?

    As for software overall, our login script audits the workstations for what they have installed. I review those reports monthly to see if something unauthorized has been added. But so far I haven't seen this happen because I restrict software installation via group policies.
    Daisy

  11. #11
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    Batcher, last year when we replaced the first half of the workstations I ordered them with internal integrated audio. Meaning speakers wouldn't be needed to hear basic audio like the email notification dings and when they need to listen to something in the course of their job which does happen from time to time. One example would be our extensive auto dealer clients for whom we read and listen to their advertisements before they are published. Another would be viewing streaming local news video of an accident involving one of our clients. When I set up that first batch of machine I pulled all the physical speakers and only put back speakers to those folks who said they needed them for their work. Now that I'm replacing the second half of the workstations with the same internal audio setup, I'll pull speakers again and wait to see what happens like I did last year. Many will balk. Overall we've been phasing out speakers as they break and haven't bought any new since 2000. Still we do see Internet radio and video on the rise amongst staff and shareholders. My boss wants to implement new policy now that all of the workstations can be uniformly managed.
    Daisy

  12. #12
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    Re: Policy for Internet Radio & Videos?

    Good point, Tim. I forgot about the webinars (just listened to one on Tuesday!) and online CLEs the attorneys attend from time to time. Headphones are available but the attorneys generally just close their door or use a conference room. A few times a webinar has involved staff; when that happens a conference room is used for privacy. Our accounting department has needed to attend online training when there's been a major update to the accounting system. They too have offices and typically use a combination of headset with microphone and closing of their doors.
    Daisy

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