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Hey, We Saw That

Should I monitor my employees' e-mail?

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This story appears in the January 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Apparently, more and more companies do: Last year, security monitoring software sales hit $13.5 billion, almost 20 percent higher than the year before. But don't be concerned with e-mails and chats if your staff is small and doesn't handle confidential information, says Kevin Beaver, founder of the Atlanta security consulting firm Principle Logic. "That's micromanaging," he says. Better to handle productivity issues and other matters face to face.

What's less discussed--but much more useful--is monitoring Internet usage. Are your employees spending more time on Facebook than handling clients? Are they using your network to engage in questionable activities? "A lot of managers say they trust their employees to do the right thing," Beaver says. "But as an outside consultant, I've found many situations where people are abusing their privileges."

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