Websense wants to ban online gaming

Killjoy or corporate bandwidth guardian?

Copyright 2003, Situation Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Uncontrolled online gaming is putting organisations at risk from legal problems from illicit software and robbing corporates of valuable bandwidth. That's the view of employee management software outfit Websense whose latest software, naturally enough, helps companies manage the issue (read: ban online gaming).

Websense is looking to expand its role beyond managing Web browsing towards allowing companies to control a far wider range of computing habits. The list of activities Websense would like to ban grows daily.

If Websense has its way, online gaming will join the list of proscribed workplace Internet activities, including swapping files, instant messaging and accessing personal storage sites as unacceptable security and liability risks. Many of these have been the subject of recent Websense surveys and, in fairness, the company has some valid points about legal liabilities, bandwidth management and security risks inherent in some of these activities.

But part of the rationale for controlling these activities, as expounded by Websense, is that they affect worker productivity. We don't buy this argument. Rather than trying to control worker behaviour we think it makes more sense to take a look at how productive people actually are and empower them to get the work done as they see fit.

There's another problem with Websense's approach in regard to network gaming. Are the IT staff of this world really going to allow software that prohibits them from playing Quake installed on their networks? We rather think not.

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