November 27, 2011    /    by

Cyber Monday: Are You Shopping From Work?

Its that time of year again. Cyber Monday has arrived, and recent survey results say that 50% of Americans do some holiday shopping from work.

It’s that time of year again. Cyber Monday has arrived, and recent survey results say that 50% of Americans do some holiday shopping from work.  (This number is actually down from 52% last year.)

This topic is not new, and I find it interesting to look back at the (brief) history of Cyber Monday in America. Four years ago, Government Technology Magazine asked what government organizations should do about Grinch.exe? The five suggestions are still fairly relevant; however, new advice is offered elsewhere around smartphones.

 Back in 2006, I wrote that Christmas gifts can bring security woes. This is still true. Here’s a blog excerpt:

This has been going on for years. Toys that are opened on Christmas morning soon find their way into work. Historically, PDAs, cellphones, new software, even games and movies, have caused us problems. One colleague told me that January was always his worst month for security problems because of these Christmas presents.

A year later, I wrote this blog at CSO.com on the Cyber Monday topic and concluded by writing:

So my question to readers is what is your organization doing about this trend, besides issuing policies?
In Michigan, we send reminder e-mails to staff reminding them regarding holiday e-cards and shopping online hazards. We also monitor the traffic and behaviors of our employees.

We try our best to do each of the things recommended by the Center for Digital Government – with many controls in place, but we're certainly not perfect. Can you share any experiences?

This closing still seems appropriate to me in 2011.  While our Michigan government acceptable use policy clearly states that computer network use is for official business, we allow local supervisors to use discretion in applying the rules. Our central cyber team only flags blatant violations of acceptable use, and we provide that information to the HR teams in each business area, as appropriate, for follow-up actions.  

By the way, I've already received several emails for special "deals" on Cyber Monday, so I fully expect employees to be tempted to click to go after "one-off" deals during this week and the holiday season. 

So I ask again, can you share any Cyber Monday experiences (from this year or from the past)?