Should we block Facebook, Twitter or other social networks?
Half of small and midsized firms don't let staff visit social networks such as Facebook and Twitter from a company-owned PC or laptop, says Webroot ( the online survey of businesses with 500 and fewer employees between Oct. 29 and Nov. 3; 1 087UK and US respondents). 42 percent have implemented an Internet use policy with strict rules as a result of an employee's inappropriate use of a social networking site.
Over a half of firms are concerned about malware infections via social networks and 42 percent worry about data leakages caused by social network use, with 12 percent admitting sensitive company info has been leaked via this channel.
The combination of policies, policy violations, the usage monitoring and malware fears has led to the next results:
· 39% prohibit employees from visiting Facebook
· 30% have banned employee access to Twitter
· 27% prohibit YouTube and video-sharing sites
· 21% restrict employee social network access to specific times of day (breaks, meals, after work hours
This is a hot topic that is discussed in every company now. Decisions should be taken very seriously with pros and cons discussed in every case individually.
Why one do that?
Today, often in the lag of policy, social networking has employees toggling between “friending” on Facebook, Twitter, etc. one moment, and “businessing” on corporate systems the next. Switch between “friending” and “businessing” can pose an extreme peril to any organization’s nr. 1 asset – reputation – in an age that grants enormous power to individuals. For example, Genesis HealthCare System, of Ohio, recently had to counsel healthcare professionals not to make negative postings online; personnel were discussing patients and referring to them by room number. Going the other way, employees too often have the temptation to bring an inappropriately lighter sensibility to business communications, having just exited the “party” of social networking.
Webroot recommends organizations thinking of permitting access to social networks determine who needs access to the sites in order for the company to be competitive.
Situation highlights the need for everyone to have a much higher data security awareness. The majority of breaches are due to human error, therefore awareness and common sense are key, in supporting all necessary best practices.
Why one can be wrong doing that?
In the case of small businesses, many find themselves taking advantage of social networks in the interests of client-building, marketing, communication, and general exposure. This is inexpensive and efficient.
I personally think that “blocking” will not be the best solution to a problem and just an illusion of security. That every company needs to develop a policy for social networking use and should also deploy reliable Web security services for ongoing protection against threats as it happened ones with e-mails. Adding necessary precautions and education as well.
Sincerely, blocking is not a solution at all. “Social” people use Facebook “”24/7” and beyond the working hours. I see my admin and secretary building “superior” farms even Facebook being blocked by IT guys. Being blocked one may feel discriminated, anger and will find the way to circumvent the ban.
As well, it is much easier to spot a disloyal person who rants or vents about the job in a bad way from in the internal business network.
I found a report from the Network Box shows that 6.8 percent of all the URLs accessed by businesses goes to Facebook. Blocking social networks is pointless, embracing them is crucial.
Social Networks are very often sources creativity and happiness.
One question to answer. If companies blocks access to pages, does it mean they do not trust their employees to be confidential, work when they should and maintain privacy. How much you trust your employees?