Internet misuse at work presents a range of latent legal, security, and productivity problems. This problem is expanded further because, for most employees, using the Internet is a basic part of their work day. Moreover, we can all appreciate that the internet is also a huge source of distraction and entertainment.

According to a Salon.com survey, 64% of employees visit non-work sites at work every day, and while you probably know that internet misuse at work is bad for business, do you understand all the real world implications?

Here are four business risks associated with employees abusing the internet.

1. Legal

If employees are streaming or downloading copyright-protected music, movies or apps, you could be legally responsible. Copyright holders are increasingly going after people who illegally download their content. Depending on the interpretation of the law, employers could be held responsible and made to pay fines or even be taken to court if the copyright infringement was done using office equipment and Internet connection.

2. Security

Visiting unsafe websites and downloading media or software can have huge implications for security. The majority of data breaches and hacks are performed through either chinks in web browsers or by malware being downloaded. Non-work websites present a huge risk; torrent websites alone infect 12 million users a month, according to RiskIQ.

3. Misconduct

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that your employees may use the internet for gross misconduct. According to Nielsen, 25 percent of working adults have admitted to looking at porn at work, while 70 percent of online porn viewing happens between 9am and 5pm. Watching porn at work can result in employees being fired and leave employers liable to complaints from coworkers or even sexual harassment cases.

4. Bandwidth

Downloading files or streaming films can take up valuable internet connection space. Even at work, maximum bandwidth can be reached when backing up files or uploading important content to a server. With video conference calls and other work related tasks requiring critical internet access and speed, personal uploads and downloads can slow down internet speed and jeopardise business operations.

So how can you stop employees from misusing the internet at work?

Monitoring internet use

Clearly, internet misuse at work is a threat to any business owner. Therefore, if you’re worried about how your employees are using the internet at work, using employee monitoring software can be a fantastic idea.

You can remotely install solutions such as KnowIT onto all of your company computers, smartphones and tablets. KnowIT monitors exactly what websites each of your employees is visiting and for how long.

You will then be able to instantly determine if anyone is misusing the internet and take action accordingly. Furthermore, you can also block access to certain undesirable sites that your employees may be tempted to visit.