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Social networking has fighting back

Social networkingWhile social networking has become one of the most popular phenomena on the Internet, many employers aren’t so enthusiastic. Web security firm ScanSafe reports that a third of US employers are now restricting access to social networking sites, while in South Africa, Facebook, the second most popular website in the country has been put on Standard Bank’s list of blocked sites and other companies are following suit.

Companies are increasingly looking to secure and control their workers’ web activity because of the impact it can have on the company in terms of productivity, bandwidth and security.

According to a study by employment law firm Peninsula, businesses lose 233 million hours every month to employees visiting networking sites during working hours. The cost in lost productivity was calculated at about $250 million per day.

Groups have even sprung up on Facebook which collect people who openly admit that they are browsing the social network rather than work. The ‘I have cruised around on Facebook all day and consequently have done no work’ group has more than 240 members.

IT security
A poll conducted by Sophos revealed that 41% of Facebook users were willing to share personal information with a complete stranger. Many profile pages contain users’ employment details – information that could be used maliciously to commit corporate fraud or access company networks.

In addition to the privacy issues posed by social networking sites, legal systems, especially in the US, are becoming more demanding about access to any electronically stored records.

According to analyst firm Gartner, “Non-US organizations may wish to avoid virtual worlds that are subject to US jurisdiction because this may result in stored information being subject to egal scrutiny.

If workers are allowed access to these sites then it’s imperative that they are taught best practices to ensure that they are not putting their personal and corporate data at risk. Five minutes spent learning the ins-and-outs of Facebook’s privacy settings, for instance, could save a lot of heartache later.

Source : hp newsletter

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