Elron Software Inc yesterday launched its corporate internet usage management suite in the UK, but the firm has had to change its marketing strategy to account for the differences in office politics in the US and UK. Elron’s CommandView products include a firewall and tools to help network administrators control web site access and bandwidth […]
Elron Software Inc yesterday launched its corporate internet usage management suite in the UK, but the firm has had to change its marketing strategy to account for the differences in office politics in the US and UK. Elron’s CommandView products include a firewall and tools to help network administrators control web site access and bandwidth distribution. In the US, legal liability was a major driving factor for companies to censor and monitor their staff’s surfing habits. People inadvertently viewing sexually explicit material on a colleague’s screen could give rise to a sexual harassment suit. Said Pat Dunne, Elron’s director of international sales: In America, there’s more of a culture of employees looking for excuses to sue their employers. In Europe, where that’s not the case, businesses tend to buy for productivity reasons.
When the software was launched last year in the US, Elron found that 62% of companies it surveyed had employees who surfed the web for pornography during business hours. Although one of the survey’s unwitting participants clocked up an amazing 2,000 hits on porn sites during the five-day trial (at a minute per hit, that’s over six hours a day), the real shock was that more employees overall used the net for sports reports than for sex. Many used real-time updating scorekeeper plug-ins, which clog up bandwidth if used on a large scale. Similar plug-ins are available for UK sports, so Elron expects it will focus less on the legal stickiness thrown up by porn, and more on the benefits of firms ensuring their workers are not hogging bandwidth and wasting company time on cricket.
The cornerstone of the CommandView suite is Internet Manager, which uses a smart listing system to search visited sites for banned keywords, then either offering the net admin the chance to block the site, or doing it automatically. The SmartList technology, says Elron, is what sells product: most other offerings use a pre-prepared block list. But there’s an estimated 30 million adult-content sites out there, and block lists are only around 200,000 URLs long. Also in the package is BandwithAnalyzer/Optimizer, which allows the monitoring of bandwidth and allows the net admin to divert bandwidth to more important traffic.
The US-based software arm of Israeli holding group Elron Electronic Industries Ltd, Elron’s UK sales office, currently a one-man affair, represents the firm’s first move into Europe. MIS Ltd resells the CommandView products in the UK and Europe, and the company has partners in Scandinavia and Germany. A French and German office is planned for next year, and the firm thinks it can increase its European revenue from 20% to 40% of international sales within the next 18 months.