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Social Media at Work: Worth The Risk?

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 11-09-2010 Print
The business rewards of using Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking are offset by great security risks, according to a global survey commissioned by McAfee and authored by Purdue University faculty affiliated with school's Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security (CERIAS). The authors evaluated the results of a survey conducted by Vanson Bourne that captured responses from 1,000 organizational decision-makers in 17 countries. The results reveal that employee use of social media is one of the main sources of enterprise security risk. A third (33 percent) of respondents restrict employee access to social media tools, 25 percent monitor use, and 13 percent block these tools entirely. At the same time, three out of four respondents say their organization uses Web 2.0 for a variety of business functions, including IT (54 percent), marketing and sales (34 percent), customer relations (29 percent) advertising and public relations (28 percent) and human resources (22 percent). "Web 2.0 and social-networking technologies can be used effectively for some business purposes," says Eugene H. Spafford, founder and executive director of CERIAS. "But to reap the benefits of Web 2.0, organizations [have to] put the right policies in place, and deploy the technology that can enforce those policies."


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