Can Company WiFi Track Websites Visitors: An Insight

Wifi Track Websites

Can Company WiFi Track Websites Visited by Employees: An Insight

When we connect to our company’s Wi-Fi, we naturally wonder about the extent of monitoring on that network.

With issues of privacy and security at the forefront of digital communication, there is a growing concern about how much of our online activity is visible to employers.

It’s important to understand that when using company Wi-Fi, our web browsing may be tracked and recorded.


In this context, our privacy concerns are weighed against a company’s legitimate need to secure its network and protect its interests.

For instance, organisations often implement monitoring to ensure that their networks are not being used for inappropriate or illegal activities, to protect against data breaches, or to prevent the leakage of sensitive information.


In this guide, we’ll look at company Wi-Fi from both perspectives: addressing the concerns of the employee and the needs of the employer.

Understanding Company WiFi Monitoring

In today’s digital workplace, we increasingly rely on internet connectivity to perform our tasks, making the monitoring of company WiFi something employers may implement to ensure productivity and security.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the types of monitoring.


Types Of Monitoring Tools Used By Employers

Employers utilise a variety of software and hardware tools to monitor network traffic.

Software solutions include SIEM systems (Security Information and Event Management), which aggregate the data needed for reporting and alerting. Additionally, DLP (Data Loss Prevention) tools are used to prevent sensitive data leakage.

Employers may also deploy hardware-based network analysers, which can monitor all data flowing through the company’s network.

Network administration tools vary in complexity, from basic inspection software like packet sniffers to advanced network surveillance systems that provide a detailed analysis of traffic patterns. Some common software includes:

  • Wireshark: A packet analyser that captures and displays packets of data transmitted across the network.
  • Nagios: An open-source monitoring system for systems, networks, and infrastructure.
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What Network Administrators Can Track

Network administrators can track a comprehensive range of activities on a company’s network.

They have the capability to log:

  • Websites visited
  • Time spent on each site
  • Data downloaded or uploaded

This is commonly achieved through the inspection of packets, which are segments of data sent over the internet.

The network admin uses tools to see headers and sometimes the contents of these packets, depending on the depth of surveillance and the legal framework.

Traffic analysis includes assessing the volume and type of traffic to identify trends or detect anomalies.

It’s important to recognise that this monitoring is subject to legislation and company policy designed to protect employees’ privacy.

The Role Of HTTPS And SSL

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is the secure version of HTTP, where ‘S’ stands for ‘Secure’.

When browsing on a company network, HTTPS ensures that the information we transmit is encrypted using the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) protocol.

This means that any data sent between our browser and the website’s server is in an encrypted form, which significantly reduces the risk of data interception and eavesdropping.

It is vital for us to look for the padlock icon in our web browsers, as this signifies the presence of HTTPS and confirms that the connection to the site is encrypted.

Legal And Ethical Considerations

In this section, we explore the intricate balance between an employer’s right to monitor internet usage and an employee’s expectation of privacy.

We aim to address how this balance impacts the monitoring of internet use on company networks, including social media interactions, work email, and the use of personal devices.


The Legality Of Monitoring Employee Internet Use

In the United Kingdom, the regulation of monitoring employee internet use falls under various acts and guidelines, such as the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

These legal frameworks allow employers to monitor activities, including internet usage, on company systems as long as the monitoring is for legitimate business purposes and employees are informed about the monitoring policies.

It is crucial to have a clear policy outlining the extent and nature of monitoring to ensure that employees’ rights are not infringed upon.

Key points regarding these policies include:

  • Purpose of Monitoring: The employer must have a clear and legitimate business reason for the monitoring.
  • Transparency: Employees should be clearly informed about what is being monitored and why.
  • Proportionality: Monitoring should be proportionate to the risk involved and should not be excessive.
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Balancing Privacy And Company Security

When it comes to protecting both the privacy of employees and the security of company data, we must recognise the delicate equilibrium that must be maintained.

Security measures are essential to safeguard against cybersecurity threats and to protect the integrity of company information.

However, these security protocols should not breach an employee’s reasonable expectation of privacy, especially when using personal devices.

The key elements to consider are:


  • Expectation of Privacy: Employees may expect some level of privacy even when using company resources, particularly when it comes to personal emails or social media, although this is typically less protected on company devices.
  • Use of Personal Devices: If personal devices are permitted for work-related activities, policies relating to the monitoring of these devices should be explicitly defined and communicated.
  • Monitoring Scope: Any monitoring should be relevant to work activities, avoiding unnecessary intrusion into personal affairs.

Our Final Word

Monitoring of company Wi-Fi is a multifaceted issue that balances the needs of the employer for security and productivity with the privacy concerns of employees.

Employers utilise various tools, from SIEM systems to network analyzers, to monitor network activities, including website visits, time spent on each site, and data transfer.

These tools, while essential for security and maintaining the integrity of company data, are governed by legal and ethical considerations that aim to protect employee privacy.

As digital workspaces evolve, both employers and employees must be aware of the monitoring mechanisms in place, their legal implications, and the importance of balancing security with privacy.

This understanding is crucial in creating a work environment where company interests are safeguarded while respecting the reasonable privacy expectations of employees.

Want to discuss your company’s WiFi set-up? Get in touch here.

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