Thirty-nine percent of companies block Facebook at work? Yeah right

A new study from Webroot (via NetworkWorld) dumped a lot of stats in my lap.  Most of which are companies portraying some feigned sense of security by attempting to block outside social networks.  Here are some of the stats first:

  • 39% block access to Facebook
  • 30% block access to Twitter
  • 27% block video sharing sites

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Amazingly 21% give employees the right to view such sites before work and during their lunch hour.  Let’s be honest.  With the amount of third party tools, websitesand options for Twitter (see EverythingTwitter), you aren’t stopping employees.  Blocking access via a string on the URL or even traffic isn’t the solution.  Implementing the proper policies and controls around usage and expectations goes much further.

Most companies have an Internet usage policy, but rarely list individual sites, tools or social networks.  With the mass amounts of mobile devices in play, bothy personal and business, the tools and hooks to the sites are built in.  Native clients from Twitter for Android, Blackberry and iPhone permeate all the devices.  Facebook interfacing blurs the lines between business and personal contacts.  Heck, many have coworkers and bosses as friends on Facebook.  They are whom you spend much of your time with in the first place.

The study goes on with the concerns over data leakage, malware infections and more.  This is inherent to email and every other tool you have.  So is the site the issue and problem or is it the way the sites are used?  Have you implemented a social network usage policy?  Are there strict guidelines and governance in place?  Do employees sign off and get training on how they will represent themselves and/or company on these networks?

My guess is the companies in the survey missed the point but creates the fear.

  • Blah

    Different sites have different excuses…er…reasons for being blocked at my company. Twitter was blocked simply because so many employees were using it, and it was constantly updating (no matter the client) that bandwidth was an issue. Other social network sites were blocked with the reason being, “we aren’t so concerned with what you post, as we know you can do it on your own time at home, but that you don’t do it on company equipment”.

    We have guidelines and governance in place. Employees sign off on them. No training here, but we have an incredibly paranoid legal department. Essentially stating, we’ll go to every effort to show that we tried to stop you. Do what you want as long as we aren’t to blame.

    Add to that employees complaining about other employees wasting time on certain social networks. Rather than properly managing individuals, the company chooses to block the site. The outcome becomes inconsistent policies that make no sense and don’t get to the root of whatever actual problem may exist, if there truly is one.

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  • Anonymous

    Considering that there are companies who makes use of these social media sites as effective marketing tools and benefits the company, blocking them from the company computers definitely depletes this purpose. I guess other than providing an accurate and clear internet usage policy to the employees, monitoring employee internet usage can also be one way. Although it’s important to make sure the staff are aware that they are being monitored to avoid further problems, much better give them details of what’s being monitored as well. It would be nice to know that the management isn’t hiding anything from them, thus, they will probably do the same thing as well.

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