Just under half of businesses who use web filtering technology have experienced a security breach due to unsafe internet use by employees.

According to a survey of 200 IT decision-makers at small- to medium-sized businesses by GFI Software, 40 per cent of businesses have experienced a security breach due to employees visiting a site that hosted malware – while 55 per cent that use a web monitoring solution said defence against infected websites is not a priority.

Of those who deploy a solution, nearly a quarter (24 per cent) use it mainly to ensure employee productivity; 13.5 per cent to conserve network bandwidth and speed; and 11.5 per cent to prevent employees from visiting inappropriate sites.

However, of those surveyed, 70 per cent claimed that web use is not a problem in their organisation.

Phil Bousfield, general manager of the infrastructure business unit at GFI Software, said: “Protecting the network from malicious websites and downloads should be a top priority for IT managers in addition to concerns over employee productivity and bandwidth management.

“Web monitoring solutions that equip IT administrators with an additional layer of network defence against online threats and provide employees with the tools they need to make better, safer decisions while online go a long way in helping SMBs balance the benefits of internet access with the risks it creates.”

GFI Software also announced the launch of its web monitoring, filtering and security solution, WebMonitor 2011, this week; it offers new security and anti-malware features that enable SMBs to provide internet access without constraints and without sacrificing network protection.

It said the enhancements equip IT administrators with an additional layer of network defence against online threats and enable employees to more safely use the web by identifying dangerous websites and downloads before they can cause harm to a PC or network.