IT Security companies are effectively communicating (or marketing) the need for corporations to be concerned about security and loss of productivity due to employees wasting time on social networking sites. As a result, the valuable traffic to these sites may start to diminish during peak media messaging hours (9-5).
Back in September according to this BBC article, a UK law firm, Peninsula, estimated a loss of 233 million hours per month or £130 million a day by employees “wasting time” visiting social networking sites on the internet.
The estimates were based on a survey conducted of 3500 UK companies, suggesting that some employees spend up to two hours a day visiting social networking sites at employers’ expense.
While findings of the survey were alarming, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) told AFP that the total ban to networking sites would be “something of an over-reaction”.
But earlier this month, Barracuda Networks released a survey based on data contributed by several thousand customers. The survey showed that 44% of companies using Barracuda's Web filtering technology block access to MySpace, and 26% are doing the same to Facebook. The analysis showed that while 19% of companies blocked both the sites, half said they block one or the other or both.
In a separate survey of Barracuda 228 IT security workers, results showed that 53% of businesses restrict Web surfing. This number is expected to increase by 23% in 2008 to 65 percent.
The top motivations behind these restrictive measures were:
• Prevent virus or spyware (70%)
• Control employee productivity drain (52%)
• Lessen the load on bandwidth (36%)
• Liability issues (28%)
In August, Sophos, an international provider of IT security and control, released a report that showed 43% of 600 polled workers said their employer blocks Facebook access completely.
According to Sophos, 41% of Facebook users are willing to disclose personal information to complete strangers. And details such as employment history and mobile phone numbers found on Facebook could be used to launch corporate phishing attacks, security experts warn.
Social networks have been making major strides towards becoming directionally focused. Some have partnered with online directories; some have added business advertising opportunities and many have started to cultivate reviews. If this trend continues and corporations continue to block the major social networks from their employees, ironically, the anti-social characteristics of today’s directories and local search engines may be their greatest advantage. Consumers who tend to plan dinners, movies and other after work activities online may be forced to use less social environments.
I’m getting more data on this…