Whilst games can be a welcome diversion from the daily grind, a new report published by Websense warns that this popular pastime, if not effectively managed, could be putting the e-enabled organisation at risk.
Geoff Haggart, vice president at Websense, said: 'The online gaming explosion first hit the workplace because of prevalent broadband Internet access.
'But employees are now bringing in unauthorised games on CDs or downloading free games via peer-to-peer networks, some of which have embedded malicious mobile code.
'It leads to increased demands on bandwidth and could lead to legal issues as a result of software being copied or stored illegally on the server.'
The popularity of online and PC games shows no signs of slowing. The overall games audience is expected to grow 18% with 61% penetration in 2007, but PC gamers will outnumber console gamers, according to Jupiter Research.
Websense data shows that there are nearly 1,400 computer game applications world wide, and more than 10m game related web pages on the Internet.
To help companies manage workplace game playing beyond employee access to websites, Websense launched a first of its kind employee Internet management platform that manages employee computing at the gateway, network and desktop levels. The product, Websense Enterprise v5, enables companies to manage employee access to game websites, peer-to-peer prot ocols that are used to download gaming packages and desktop game applications.
'As PC games become more entertaining and interactive, they require increasing quantities of broadband Web access and employee mind share,' said Mr Haggart.
'Websense Enterprise v5 is the only product that will manage employee access to online games, games downloaded using P2P and games installed via CD.
'EIM products without functionality at the Internet gateway, network and desktop levels are simply incomplete.'
*Statistic comes from The National Family & Parenting Institute
Websense Inc. is a provider of employee Internet management solutions. Websense Enterprise software enables organisations to manage how employees use their computing resources, including Internet access, desktop applications and network bandwidth. This helps improve productivity and security, conserve network resources, and mitigate legal liability.