Internet Surfing, Online Shopping at Work Increase Worldwide as Holidays Grow Closer

    Employees' Recreational, Personal And Holiday-Related Use Of Internet
    Places Businesses At Risk For Technical Problems And Legal Liability

    TORONTO, Dec. 12 /CNW/ - Despite global trends of increased online
shopping and unproductive Internet surfing on work computers in lead up to the
holiday season, Canadian workers are less likely to engage in these activities
compared to their counterparts in the U.S. and around the world, according to
a new survey released today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
    The survey, conducted by R&T strategies, polled more than 4,000 wired
workers in 20 countries around the world to further examine evolving
behaviours towards recreational use of the Internet in the workplace. The
findings show that Canadian wired workers who participate in year-end gift
giving (62 per cent) will do up to one quarter of their holiday shopping
online. Of those who will shop online, 21 per cent will do so from their work
computer, up from 16 per cent last year. In the U.S., 34 per cent of
respondents said they will do most or some of their online holiday shopping at
work, up from 28 per cent in 2006.
    The survey also shows unproductive Internet use at the office is growing
steadily across the globe, even outside the holiday period. When asked what
they would spend their time doing if their supervisor was out of the office,
25 per cent of Canadian respondents said they would likely surf around the
Internet for fun by visiting news, sports and gossip sites, compared to
38 per cent of respondents in the U.S. The number of wired workers who also
engage in unproductive Internet use at work increases significantly in Europe
(31 per cent), Asia (40 per cent) and South America (41 per cent).
    "Many people go onto the Internet at work with a specific job in mind;
either checking their bank account, paying a utility bill, checking travel
details or doing some shopping. Others have no specific intention; they surf
the web to try and kill a few hours," said Michael Murphy, Chair of the BSA
Committee in Canada. "However, this kind of activity that can lead to unsafe
Internet use, and in turn, expose a company's network to serious security
threats including spyware, viruses as well as copyright infringement. Over the
holidays as well as throughout the year, companies need to continue educating
employees about the dangers of unauthorized Internet access and establish
policies regarding the proper use of company networks and computers."

    Other survey findings include:

    -   The number of Canadian wired workers who say they will avoid online
        shopping entirely has dropped to 24 per cent from 39 per cent in
    -   Canadian survey respondents are more likely to be making travel plans
        on work computers (14 per cent) during the holidays than their
        counterparts in the U.S. (7 per cent).
    -   When asked what they would spend their time doing if their supervisor
        was out of the office, 26 per cent of Canadian workers polled also
        noted they would spend time handling personal financial tasks and
        banking issues; nearly one-third (29 per cent) said they would likely
        get more work done.
    -   Canadian workers polled believe restrictions placed by their
        employers regarding computer usage have more to do with protecting
        the security of the company's computer network (45 per cent) than
        they do with minimizing "time-wasting" activities (24 per cent).
    -   Less than one-third (26 per cent) of Canadian respondents say they
        would feel upset to learn their company keeps records of all Internet
        sites they visit as well as the length of time spent on each. While
        this concern is slightly higher in the U.S. (30 per cent), it
        increases significantly in other countries including Spain
        (34 per cent), Germany (49 per cent), Italy (55 per cent) and South
        Korea (92 per cent).

    Business IT networks are one of the most significant investments
companies can make and employees' online activities have the potential to put
those investments in jeopardy. Viruses and malicious software, as well as
unauthorized software applications for shopping, travel, online
communications, and media sharing may be grinches of the holiday season
stealing network efficiency and data integrity, even leaving employers liable
for copyright infringement charges. The impact of employee web surfing goes
beyond decreasing productivity and security risks as valuable IT resources
must be diverted from strategic activities to address the challenges of
unauthorized online activity. A growing number of BSA's enforcement
investigations discover software downloaded without a company's management's
knowledge while employees surf the web.
    The research findings point to the importance of establishing a software
policy in the workplace. By implementing an office-wide policy that is
understood and followed by all employees, a company is better able to protect
its computer network. Programs downloaded on work computers that cause
technical problems and software that is not licensed to the company can be
then identified and deleted.
    To find out how a company can implement a software policy, visit for best practices, a sample policy, and additional resources.
Companies trying to determine whether their organization is using unlicensed
software can access a self-audit tool and a Software Asset Management Guide.
    To better help employers educate their employees about how to recognize
and avoid the risks associated with shopping online this holiday season, and
to protect their security network throughout the year, BSA has released a Do's
and Don't's list of activities for wired workers to remain safe online. BSA
encourages businesses to share these tips with their employees.

    About the survey

    RT Strategies conducted the survey between November 2 and 6, 2007 through
an international online poll of 4,000 wired workers in 20 countries who work
outside the home and at a computer with internet access. Countries included in
the poll include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany,
Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Russia (Moscow),
Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United
States. The margin of error for a sample of this size is +/-1.5 for all wired
workers worldwide and +/- 6.9 for all wired workers in each country.

    About BSA

    The Business Software Alliance, formerly known in Canada as the Canadian
Alliance Against Software Theft, is the foremost organization dedicated to
promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world's
commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and
in the international marketplace. Its members represent the fastest growing
industry in the world. Working with its partners in Canada and other countries
worldwide, BSA educates consumers on software management and copyright
protection, cyber security, trade, e-commerce and other Internet-related
issues. BSA member companies in Canada include Adobe Systems, Apple, Autodesk,
Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, Microsoft, Mindjet,
McAfee, Monotype Imaging, PTC, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, The MathWorks,
and UGS.

    Company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For further information:

For further information: or to receive a copy of BSA's tips for wired
workers to remain safe online, please contact: Melita Vega, Hill & Knowlton,
(416) 413-4743,

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