90pc of IT managers want social-networking sites banned at work

3 Nov 2009

A broad cross section of ICT professionals in public and private-sector organisations believe social-networking sites open up organisations to reduced staff productivity, network security risks and reputational damage.

This has led an increasing number of organisations to introduce a complete ban on staff accessing social-networking sites, said web-filtering software firm Bloxx.

Out in public

Surprisingly, according to the research, it also seems common for staff to post disparaging remarks regarding other employees, their boss or the company on social-networking sites. 

More than 22pc of respondents do not have any controls in place for staff accessing social-networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Bebo.

With the survey showing that 35pc of IT managers believing staff are spending more than 30 minutes each, per day, on average, accessing social-networking sites, these companies are potentially providing an additional 16 days paid holiday for each employee.

Social networking as business tool

However, this research also shows that social networking is increasingly being used as a valuable business tool and access is required to harness the benefits these sites can bring to businesses.

“Businesses really can’t afford to underestimate some of the risks of social-networking use in the workplace,” said Eamonn Doyle, CEO of Bloxx.

“However, our view is that a complete ban is unrealistic and adopting this approach means that companies can’t obtain the potential business benefits of social networking and can alienate staff.

“It really doesn’t have to be all or nothing with social networking – the strategy companies need to adopt is one that combines employee education, well-thought-out acceptable use policies and effective, discriminating, cutting-edge, web-filtering technology,” added Doyle.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Facebook and other social-networking sites have been frowned upon by 90pc of IT managers in a survey.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years